Monday night, the Representative Town Meeting unanimously approved that would allow the city to tap into the town’s new
The agreement still needs to be approved by the New London City Council. As part of the agreement, New London will pay part of the $225,000 annual maintenance fee for the system depending on the amount of radios it issues. At its current rate, New London will pay approximately $75,000 per year, although that number could change year-to-year, according to First Selectman Dan Steward.
“The way I see it, we have an addition to the family,” Police Chief Murray Pendleton said. “My perspective is this is the first of many things to come.”
New London is forced to improve its radio network for its public safety personnel per federal mandate by January 1. Instead of building its own, the city will tap into Waterford’s new system, with New London having all its own separate channels on the system.
While some voiced concerns with the specifics of the agreement, RTM members were all happy that the town was regionalizing its services. RTM member Robert Brule said the town is paying the maintenance cost anyway, so it makes sense to bring in money from another municipality.
“We own the system, we are paying it anyway,” Brule said. “Getting our neighbor involved in this just makes sense.”
RTM members questioned a telecommunications committee stipulated in the agreement to have equal membership from each municipality. In the agreement, it says the committee will “have oversight and advisory capacity of the network.”
RTM member William Auwood said the committee should not have oversight of the system. Instead, the power should remain with Waterford, as it is the one that built the system.
“Oversight is a big word,” Audwood said. “It has a lot of power.”
However Steward said the committee will be made up of police and fire personnel in the field, along with himself and likely New London Mayor Daryl Finizio, and it would deal mainly with technical issues. Pendleton said the power over the system will stay with Waterford.
“They are using a network,” Pendleton said. ”They haven’t bought the network, like we did. And that’s the way it shall stay.”
RTM member Sharon Palmer asked if there was a way to settle disputes if they arise, and other RTM members asked who would pay for an upgrade to the system if it is needed or mandated. Town Attorney Rob Avena said those specifics were not laid out in the contract, but the agreement was built with “a lot of outs.”
“I see this as a work in progress,” Avena said. “There are lots of outs if a situation comes up. If it doesn’t work out, everyone can just go home.”
Steward said Waterford is close to adding another entity onto the system as well. If this agreement is approved by the City Council, both New London and Waterford would have to approve that third entity, Avena said after the meeting.