A new public safety communications system for the city and county moved a step closer Thursday after county officials approved funding for their $7.3 million share of the project.
Allen County Council members will pay cash and draw funds from the rainy day fund, and from income tax revenue that the county recently received after the state discovered an accounting error.
The vendor, Motorola, has agreed to a 1.35 percent discount for the cash payment.
Council members will also recommend to the Allen County commissioners that they chip in $1 million from the county's flood-control fund, which was set up years ago when the county received funds from the state due to a different error on the state's part.
The long-awaited $17 million radio project will include upgrades and new equipment for the city and county's emergency 911 call center.
The county's share includes new radios costing about $2.9 million and about $4.3 million for half of the total infrastructure cost of $8.5 million. The city will pay the other half and about $5.6 million for its radios.
In addition, a maintenance agreement would cost the city and county about $5 million over the next 20 years.
In order to stick to an aggressive schedule, the county council and commissioners must hold special meetings within the next two weeks to formally appropriate the funds. Fort Wayne City Council is also expected to take a final vote on the issue Tuesday.
The schedule calls for Motorola's staff to begin delivering and installing equipment this summer and have the entire system operational by the fall 2013.
Discussed at length was the anticipated, but unknown cost of a new home for the radio system since there is not enough space in the current 911 operations center in the basement of the Rousseau Centre, formerly the City-County Building.
County Commissioner Therese Brown said they are looking at several options, including collaborating with a community partner on relocation of the center.
For more on this story, see Friday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or return to www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m. Friday.