Syracuse agrees to replace old radio units

Feb 23 2013 - 12:24am

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SYRACUSE -- During a recent emergency, a local police officer received instructions on his radio to switch to a new frequency to keep in contact with county officials.

The switch never happened because the Syracuse officer was unable to see the instructions on his faded radio monitor. Parts to fix the old analog radio are also not available from the manufacturer.

That faded monitor and a number of old radio units will be replaced as part of a mid-year budget adjustment approved recently by members of the city council.

The newly adjusted 2012-2013 fiscal year budget includes approximately $55,800 in targeted funds for replacement of old radio units for the police and fire departments.

The expenditure comes at an opportune time, according to City Finance Director Steve Marshall who said the manufacturer will rebate the city $500 for each radio.

Marshall has estimated each new digital radio will cost $3,100.

Councilman Doug Peterson called replacement of the radios a no-brainer.

Another key budget adjustment is raising the level of projected revenue from sales tax for the fiscal year by $100,000, said Marshall, who added final figures could actually come in higher than projected.

The budget originally called for $2.8 million in sales tax, now bumped up to $2.9 million.

The sales tax helps compensate for some additional expenses, including the radios, said City Manager Robert Rice.

He noted the adjustments add up to a net positive of $19,000 once everything is factored in.

He said the change will still leave the city with a positive fund balance of more than 14 percent of its general fund balance.

"If you look at the financials we still think we'll do better in revenues and come in under budget. We think we come in close to 18 percent," Rice said.

Mayor Jamie Nagle called the positive fund balance a far cry from where the city started when she first took office.

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