In preparation for the City of Flint’s joining the Consortium, the City of Flint has proposed an agreement to transfer ownership of a 180 foot Radio Communications Tower to the Genesee County 911 Consortium. While ownership of the tower is transferred to the Consortium, Flint’s Police and Fire departments will continue to receive the benefits of using the tower while the City’s current operational costs will be assumed by the Consortium. The Flint City Council will have ten days to evaluate the proposal. If disapproved, Council will then have seven days to recommend a counter proposal to the local Emergency Loan Board. Any counter-proposal would need to yield substantially the same financial result as that of the Emergency Manager’s proposal.
The communications tower is located on the grounds of the 12th Street Maintenance Yards and was completed in October 2014. Funding for the tower was secured through a grant award from the State of Michigan’s Competitive Grant Assistance Program (CGAP). The CGAP was designed to encourage cooperation and efficiency on shared services between multiple jurisdictions.
Use of the tower has greatly improved communications for Flint’s first responders. Demonstration tests of the tower’s operation showed improved radio communications for all 800 MHz users throughout the city, including areas where service had been low. The 800 MHz radio system is used by the Michigan State Police, all Genesee County first responders, University of Michigan – Flint and Mott Community College Public Safety Departments and the Mass Transit Authority.
The Genesee County 911 Consortium led the 800 MHz radio communication switch with other county public safety agencies many years ago. With the completion of the tower in Flint, the City was able to connect to the wider county system and better communicate with neighboring agencies. The Flint tower links to other radio communication towers in the Genesee County 800 MHz radio system granting Flint the benefit of all of the tower strength throughout the County and the State of Michigan. Annual operating expenses total approximately $38,000 plus any needed replacement costs for equipment and labor.