By By PETE KLEINLAKE PLEASANT - One needn't be a first responder to know radio communications within Hamilton County can be a problem outside the hamlets.
That is why the county applied to the Office of Homeland Security last year for a $1.4 million State Interoperability Grant to improve communications among first responders and various law enforcement agencies.
Applied for but did not get, Hamilton County Emergency Manager Gordon "Don" Purdy told the county's Central Government Committee Monday, Feb. 25.
Of the 56 counties that applied for a grant 29 received one, Purdy said. Nearby Essex and Clinton counties were among the successful applicants, he added.
Sheriff Karl Abrams said in his opinion the county lost out for the second time because of its low population.
Purdy said he called the NYS Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services and was told, "We had a good application but came in second."
Board of Supervisors Chairman William Farber suggested Purdy find out which counties besides Hamilton have not been awarded a grant and then join with them to lobby for funding.
PREVIOUS OHS AWARDS
During the past two years the county has been awarded $169,626 in OHS grants.
In November 2012 the board authorized a contract with the OHS for a $43,000 grant for interoperable communications, law enforcement equipment and related service contracts. "Interoperable communications" means agencies are able to communicate with each other.
In April 2012 the Sheriff's and Emergency Management offices teamed up to obtain a $74,000 grant for switching the county's radio system from wideband to narrowband. The Federal Communications Commission required all fire, ambulance and law enforcement agencies to begin using the narrowband radio frequencies as of Jan. 1.
In May 2011 the county won an OHS grant of $52,626 for interoperable communication upgrades and a bio-terrorism coordinator.
Superintendent of Highways Tracy Eldridge informed the supervisors he is working on applications for two shared services grants.
One would fund a fuel consolidation project for the towns of Indian Lake and Long Lake and their schools and emergency services. It would be similar to the fuel consolidation that took place among the county, the towns of Lake Pleasant and Arietta, the Village of Speculator, Lake Pleasant Central School District and their emergency providers.
The second shared service would be a new garage for the Town of Long Lake shared with Long Lake Central School District.
The Board of Supervisors will meet Thursday, March 7, at the county complex in Lake Pleasant.