Brownwood OKS agreements for communications, dispatch

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin

Brownwood City Council members approved agreements Tuesday pertaining to an upgrade of the communication system in the county and municipalities, and the operation of the dispatch center.

Council members also approved a new agreement with the county on operation of the joint law enforcement center.

Council members approved an agreement with the Lower Colorado River Authority for the purchase and installation of a 700 megahertz radio system and related equipment, contingent on all of the entities approving a separate agreement on the operation of the dispatch center.

The total cost of the infrastructure and equipment costs for the county, cities, volunteer fire departments, plus related tower upgrades, is $4 million, an agenda briefing sheet states.

The total cost to the City of Brownwood to the LCRA is $1.1 million. which is part of the budget for the 2020-’21 fiscal year.

On the operation of the dispatch center, the City of Bangs has approved an agreement and the City of Brownwood has verbal agreements from representatives of Early and the county, an agenda briefing sheet states.

Brownwood City Manager Emily Crawford elaborated after Tuesday’s council meeting.

Since 1999, the City of Brownwood has operated the dispatch center for all of the entities in the county — Brownwood, Bangs, Early and the county, Crawford said.

“The agreement with the county is now expiring because we have paid off the joint law enforcement center,” Crawford said. “So the new agreement entails that all of the entities will all share in the cost of the dispatch services. That percentage of the share is based on the number of the calls for service that their agencies accrue.”

Based on the 1999 agreement, the City of Brownwood operated the dispatch center, and in exchange, the county set aside a minimum of 12 jail beds to the Brownwood Police Department for Class C misdemeanors.

“The motion to approve the agreement with the LCRA for the communications system is contingent on “all of the partners participating in the dispatch agreement, because a large amount of the equipment that we are purchasing from the LCRA is for the dispatch center.” Crawford said.

She said the upgrade to the communications system “Is very significant. I don’t know that Brown County has had any kind of project this large that is beneficial for our first responders and public safety since the original law enforcement center was constructed 20 years ago.

“I think is mutually beneficial for the safety of our first responders not only in the city, in buildings where they could not have radio service, but also out in the far reaches of the county where our sheriff’s department and our volunteer fire departments (operate).”

According to the 10-year agreement on the operation of the dispatch center, provisions include the city paying the county for the use of 3 beds a day for Class C misdemeanors. The agreements specifies how additional expenses are incurred, and the anticipated annual cost to the city is $61,000.