The Jackson Township Fire Department is experiencing a dropped-call of sorts now that a deal brokered with Motorola for upgraded emergency services communication equipment has been put on hold.
The department has to replace its collection of 20-year-old Motorola radios and get its communications system operating on a digital, rather than analog, bandwidth. The township requires the upgrade in order to have dependable communication equipment and be able to coordinate its system with other emergency services in the state.
Motorola reportedly made an offer to fire department officials that seemed to help them reach those goals. If the departments old radios fell within a certain serial number and memory capacity range, Motorola would replace them with new radios and for a fee, upgrade the new radios for digital capability.
However, department officials were under the impression that the serial number requirement was the only criteria the radios must meet to qualify for a trade-in. It had its radios inspected for serial numbers, but not memory capacity, and made no mention of memory capacity to Motorola when it sought approval for the trade.
Thirty of the departments outdated radios met the serial number criteria and were initially qualified by Motorola as eligible to be swapped for 30 new radios. The township also agreed to upgrade the new radios to digital functionality for about $20,000.
According to township officials, without verifying whether or not the departments old radios met the memory capacity requirement, Motorola accepted a check from the township and shipped the new radios with the digital upgrades installed.
After later finding the departments old radios failed to meet the memory requirement for trade-in, Motorola revoked the agreement. Now, the township is back to square one, radios with no digital capability.
Motorola, the only bandwidth service provider available to the township, has offered to resolve the matter in one of two ways. The township can either return the new, digitally upgraded radios and get its money back, or it can purchase some or all of them at a 50 percent discount.
If the trustees decide to buy all 30 of the new radios and retain the digital upgrades they have already paid $20,000 for, the township would owe Motorola nearly $44,000.
The Jackson Township trustees plan to further investigate the matter.
More than half of the radios in current use were manufactured in 1993 and malfunction regularly. The trustees will discuss the upgrade at the May 22 board meeting.
In other news
•Grove City and Jackson Township have been nominated for an EMERALD Award for community excellence, a Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio honor that recognizes an individual, group or communitys volunteer efforts promoting green practices in waste reduction and recycling.
The SWACO 7th annual Central Ohio EMERALD Awards ceremony and luncheon will be held from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. May 22 at the Ohio Union on the campus of Ohio State University.
•Nuisance grass on neglected properties should begin to be addressed now that the board voted to revert to its former procedure for resolving complaints. Instead of waiting for board approval, Township Administer Mike Lilly would independently authorize nuisance grass mowing.
•The board has changed the time of its regularly scheduled meeting on May 22 from 7 p.m. to 4 p.m.