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Halifax County supes asked to purchase $2.9M radio system / October 07, 2019
The Halifax County Board of Supervisors will take up the proposed purchase of a $2.9 million public safety radio system when members gather tonight for their regular monthly meeting in Halifax.

The digital communications array would replace the county’s existing analog radio system, which public safety personnel say is obsolete and difficult to maintain, especially with replacement parts becoming ever harder to find. The new Motorola system will cost $2,945,910, with financing spread out over 10 years.

The provider, Mobile Communications America, also furnished a new radio system for Mecklenburg County. Halifax supervisors are proposing to use a cooperative procurement “piggy-back” clause in the Mecklenburg purchase contract to purchase a similar system for Halifax County.

The communications infrastructure includes six transmitter sites around the county, each with four repeaters and its own antenna, along with a new communications center console, 289 mobile radios and 484 portable radios for law enforcement and emergency personnel, 281 HAZLOC-approved radios for firefighters, plus base stations and other equipment.

The package also comes with training, installation and maintenance coverage, warranties and periodic hardware and software updates.

The county 911 Board looked into the options for procuring a new radio system and recommended the MCA package to supervisors for approval. The first-year cost of a new system has already been factored into the current fiscal year budget.

Supervisors will be asked to approve a resolution to move forward with the purchase of equipment, along with implementation and financing.

The Oct. 7 board meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. at the second floor meeting room of the Bethune Complex in Halifax.

Other major items on the supervisors’ agenda include:

» A public hearing to consider a tax exemption for the SOVA Innovation Hub that Mid-Atlantic Broadband is building in downtown South Boston. MBC, a non-profit cooperative, will invest $5 million to build the Hub, which will become MBC’s new home. It will also become the home of Microsoft’s TechSpark initiative to foster digital know-how and economic development in the region.

The proposed 10-year exemption would lift the real estate and personal property taxes on the site, which consists of vacant lots at the intersection of Wilborn Avenue and Johnston Street. The property has a 2018 assessed value of $161,405 and generated property tax revenue of $807.03 last year.

» Another public hearing deals with the proposed transfer of property at the Halifax War Memorial in the Town of Halifax. Supervisors already have approved the donation of right-of-way and easements to VDOT to allow for intersection improvements at the site. The public hearing is required before the transfer can be completed.

» Supervisors have received a petition from some 66 residents asking for a lower speed limit on North Terry’s Bridge Road, from 45 mph to 35 mph. Board members will consider whether to ask VDOT to perform a speed study on the road, which is frequently used as a cut-through by motorists traveling on Hwy. 360 and Bethel Road.

The petition, signed by residents of the area, explains that people often go too fast on the road, at speeds up to 65 mph, endangering pedestrians and other motorists. The petition describes a recent incident in which a driver of a white pick-up truck hit a dog while traveling so fast the animal was knocked some 75 feet down the road.

“While the owner of the dog did go to the State Police about it,” the petition states, “and the police are trying to patrol the area more, we as residents [of North Terry’s Bridge Road] understand that there is no way the police can be out there every day.

“That is the reason we request a speed reduction, in hopes that it will make more people aware when traveling this road.”

» Supervisors will be asked to consider a retainer agreement with its legal counsel in the filing of a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson for damages in the spread of opioids and opioid addiction. Board members previously retained the law firm of Sanford Heisler Sharp to represent Halifax’s interest in ongoing opioid-related litigation.

» Board members will hear updates on two matters: from Carol Gravitt on the economic impact of The Prizery, and from ED-1 supervisor J.T. Davis on the status of the county’s hemp farming business.

Members also will get the latest news on the courthouse renovation project and the county’s revamped recycling program. The Board also will be asked to approve a drought declaration request to the State of Virginia, opening up the possibility of receiving drought disaster assistance for the current growing season.

Prior to the regular monthly meeting at 6:30, supervisors will conduct a work session from 5-6 p.m. to review items on the agenda that evening.

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