Council, board of education reach shared services agreement to place radio repeaters in middle and high school

The shared services agreement keeps both the taxpayer and school safety in mind

Finding solutions to the problems that plague the town is one of the many responsibilities on the plates of the elected officials. Solving those problems without raising taxes is a whole different animal. At recent council and board of education meetings, the two entities worked together to tackle an issue in town – strength of radio signals in buildings.

Council Vice President Joe Marino said a live shooter drill was practiced in the lower levels of town hall in 2016. During this exercise, it was discovered there were dead spots in the municipal building. First responders previously used a 500 series radio. This switched in 2016 when a 700 series tower was installed behind the Cecil Fire Department, according to Marino. With the new radio system in place, a few buildings had trouble receiving the signal.

In 2017, with this information in tow, council put out a request for proposals for companies to test the schools and town hall to determine what needed to be done to fix the issue. Council alerted the school board of the study, and it agreed to have it done as well. The repeaters were installed in town hall in 2018 with the intention of the board of education following suit.

Unfortunately, the board was preoccupied with other issues, namely the mold in Holly Glen Elementary School.

At its April 9 meeting, council voted to enter a shared services agreement with the school district, and the board reciprocated at its April 11 meeting. The agreement will allow Wireless Electronics, Inc. to install repeaters in the middle and high school, the only two schools in the district affected by the first responders’ radio signal dead zones.

“This was crucial because otherwise it would get delayed once again with the school having to take out their own RFP and start from scratch,” Marino said. “Through the township, we already had a study done. The school and attorneys came up with a shared services agreement in order for us to streamline and get it done.”

According to Marino, they are on schedule to have the equipment ordered and installed this summer to rectify the problem.

“This is another example of shared services with the township and schools working together,” Marino said. “The more we can do with shared services, the more we can hold the line on taxes and provide better services for our residents.”

Assistant Superintendent Greg Cappello echoed Marino’s statement.

“What we’re trying to do is work with the town to reduce cost, and that’s become a bigger priority with the shared services,” he said. “We want to reduce the burden on the taxpayers as much as possible. We’re very appreciative of the town for doing the bulk of the work on the specs and getting it done. They worked hard setting it up.”

While it’s important to keep the taxpayer in mind, the most important aspect is providing a safe environment for the members of the school and community, officials said.

“It’s going to make sure communications throughout the school work and they don’t get lost,” Cappello said. “It’s going to ensure if there is ever an emergency there’s not a spot in the school where police and emergency services are out of communication with each other. That’s important to us and council.”