South Sound 911’s board unanimously approved an agreement today with the City of Puyallup, including paying for about $3.5 million in future radio improvements for the city.
Those radio system upgrades – including towers – are needed for Central Pierce Fire & Rescue and the South Sound 911 system, said Andrew Neiditz, executive director of South Sound 911.
Central Pierce Fire & Rescue is a member of South Sound 911. The City of Puyallup is not, but its towers and radio communications system supports Central Pierce.
Neiditz said the agreement will help South Sound 911 accomplish its mission and Puyallup to improve its system.
“The improvements are necessary for the regional system as a whole,” Neiditz said.
He said the policy board’s vote was a “significant step forward in the partnership” between South Sound 911 and the City of Puyallup.
Planning and design for region-wide improvements are about to start and are expected to be completed in 2014, he said.
The policy board altered the agreement with Puyallup to say that South Sound 911 will pay for Puyallup’s improvements, instead of reimbursing the city for the costs.
South Sound 911 is the new agency working to build an upgraded radio system for emergency responders that will comply with new federal standards for so-called “narrow-banding” and replace a patchwork of incompatible systems.
In November 2011, Pierce County voters approved raising the sales tax by a penny on every $10 purchase to help build a cohesive radio network and one or two new dispatch centers.
The agreement approved today leaves the door open for Puyallup to join South Sound 911 as a member.
“This clearly says that full membership ought to be discussed,” Neiditz said. “There’s no decision that full membership will come.”