Western Counties radio gets $1.82 million upgrade

By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

Burnet Bulletin

Burnet County commissioners voted unanimously to accept $1.82 million from the Capital Area Council of Governments to upgrade the CAPCOG Western Counties Radio Interoperable Communications System used by Burnet, Blanco and Llano counties.

Commissioners also unanimously approved a contract with Motorola for upgrades to the 11 towers in the Western Counties system.

Burnet County Emergency Management Director Jim Barho told commissioners he, Marble Falls Police Chief Mark Whitacre, County Judge James Oakley and others have been working on trying to get this project complete for four years.

Upgrades to software used by the Greater Austin-Travis County Regional Radio System (GATRRS), which covers Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, Caldwell and Lee counties, will go into effect at 2018 and the Western Counties would not be able to communicate with GATRRS without upgrading their towers.

The money to upgrade the towers comes from the 50-cent surcharge on each phone assessed by CAPCOG for 911 costs, Barho said. There are no conditions that need to be met to receive the money and no matching funds necessary.

Management of the Western Counties system is overseen by the Burnet, Blanco and Llano county judges as well as Marble Falls Mayor John Packer. All four serve on CAPCOG's executive committee as well.

Day-to-day operations of the system are supervised by an Operations Committee that includes personnel from each of the primary jurisdictions. Ongoing costs of maintaining the system are borne by participating jurisdictions in accordance with terms of an interlocal cooperation agreement.


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