North country counties will receive hundreds of thousands of dollars each to bolster their emergency communication systems.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Friday that $45 million was awarded to 57 counties and New York City so they can enhance their emergency communication technology. The funding derives from the state Interoperable Communications Grant program, which reimburses counties for public safety call-taking and dispatching expenses, but also supports upgrades.
Allocations include $848,652 for St. Lawrence County, $766,944 for Jefferson County, $720,830 for Lewis County, $709,240 for Franklin County and $839,572 for Oswego County, according to the governor’s office. Neither Joseph D. Plummer, director of Jefferson County emergency management, nor Matthew Denner, St. Lawrence County Director of Emergency Services, could be reached for comment for how the funds may benefit their respective emergency communication systems.
Enhancements the program can support include broader radio service coverage, new antennas, towers, modern 911 equipment, tools that can help connect counties’ systems together and new channels between radio systems, according to the governor’s office. It can also be used for relevant training and exercises.
“This funding will enhance communication networks across the state and ensure that municipalities have the resources needed to improve emergency systems and operate efficiently,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement.
The program, administered by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, has provided $500 million since 2010. In order to receive program funding, which is pooled from cellular surcharge revenue, the counties and New York City must apply to finance equipment and infrastructure upgrades, according to the governor’s office.
The governor announced in September that counties across the state, and New York City, received a combined $10 million for dispatch center enhancements through another program, the Public Safety Answering Points Operations Grant.
The allocations included $204,606 for Jefferson County, $193,447 for St. Lawrence County, $171,949 for Lewis County, $184,620 for Franklin County and $179,637 for Oswego County.