Forest Park city council approves Fire EMS radio upgrades, tables noise ordinance

Forest Park Fire Chief Eddie Buckholts

FOREST PARK—The Forest Park City Council unanimously ratified an agreement between Forest Park Fire EMS and Motorola, giving the go-ahead for new radio equipment.

Chief Eddie Buckholts said the vote will add the city's fire and EMS communications on the 800 mHz spectrum to Clayton County's trunked system, and that the county would add the tower that both Forest Police and Fire EMS share to the county system.

"It gives us better coverage," Buckholts said.

Because Fire EMS does not have internal funding as the Police Department does, the council had to approve the Fire EMS upgrade.

Police Chief Nathaniel Clark told the News that the police department, which is on 700 mHz, already had its radio upgrades in place. Those radios were paid for by FPPD's "equitable sharing account" because the need was not addressed in the city's current budget cycle. The News had reported that the police radios were included in Monday night's vote. 

The council was to have considered upgrades for police radios that, along with the city's public safety communications system, fell out of warranty on Oct. 1. Forest Park came to an agreement with Clayton County on Aug. 19 that would have the county pay for maintenance of the city's communications infrastructure "with the exception of the equipment necessary for the City of Forest Park to maintain its own 911 Communications Center and the radios necessary to communicate on Clayton County's PSDN." 

Motorola, which holds contracts with both Clayton County and Forest Park, "agreed to set up the shared PSDN and replace Forest Park Fire EMS' radios for $244,085.10." The city has seven years to pay off the upgrades and will not have to make the first payment for 12 months.

Councilmembers also voted from the newly-renovated dais  to table consideration of an updated noise ordinance, which would set maximum decibel levels during certain days and times and require permits for certain amplified noises like music at bars. The proposed ordinance also would set up a system "for addressing chronic commercial noise."

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