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Jul 3, 2018 6:14 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Hampton Emergency Communications Need $1.7 Million In New Towers

Jul 3, 2018 6:14 PM

Crumbling mechanical buildings, a punch list of items that engineers simply forgot to include in initial proposals, and appropriations for a new communications tower on East Lake Drive in Montauk account for the approximately $1.7 million in additional costs anticipated for the new emergency services communications system that East Hampton Town and its police, fire, ambulance and emergency dispatchers will rely on, starting next year.

The original proposal for the system from Motorola missed a number of key components that will be needed to make the system operate, the East Hampton Town Police Department’s communications technician Eddie Schnell told Town Board members on Tuesday.

In addition, several key components of the town’s infrastructure that the company had initially thought could be re-purposed turned out to need replacement. The new fixes, which include new equipment housed at communications tower locations in Montauk, at Town Hall, in Noyac, at the East Hampton Town Police headquarters and at another tower used by the town north of the airport, total about $425,000.

The tower at police headquarters also will need to be raised by 30 feet, at a cost of about $100,000. Raising the tower, which will now be about 85 feet tall, will require that it have a single red light mounted on its top to make it visible to aircraft.

“We’ll either bolt 30 feet to the top or bolt it to the bottom, or just use the foundation and put up a new pole,” Mr. Schnell said. “We’ve budgeted enough to do a complete replacement.”

An existing tower at the Montauk transfer station will also need $250,000 in upgrades to its lattice structure to accommodate new antennas.

About $650,000 of the $1.7 million in additional bonding would be for a planned new communications tower on East Lake Drive, Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said after Tuesday’s work session. The tower, which the Montauk Fire Department has requested for more than a decade, would improve communications east of Lake Montauk and replace an existing tower on a property owned by Suffolk County.

The town has said it ultimately needs another new tower in Springs as well, funding for which had been in an earlier version of the new bonding proposal. But because the town has not yet identified where that tower will be built, Mr. Van Scoyoc said, that funding was cut from the current proposal.

The new communications system will replace a 20-year-old system currently in use by all town emergency responders, which has suffered from equipment failures, lack of replacement parts and gaps in communications.

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Meanwhile there is absolutely zero cell reception from Wainscott to 114 to SHP to Northwest Woods. Every time there is an accident or emergency someone has to be tasked to drive 5+ miles to get enough reception to call 911. But every time a proposal comes up to add the small unobtrusive technology to existing tower structures to create coverage, the Town Board rejects it. Great job.
By localEH (377), East Hampton on Jul 5, 18 12:01 AM
1 member liked this comment
Local, has nothing to do with your cell service. Emergency Communications... Call your carrier...
By knitter (1606), Southampton on Jul 5, 18 9:20 AM
The cell companies have been busy trying to place more cell antennas through out the tons but have been met with resistance from some local community groups. Those with cell issues should attend these meetins and voice their viewpoint.
By North Sea Citizen (516), North Sea on Jul 6, 18 5:53 AM