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Bucks County spending $1.2 million to upgrade 911

By Tom De Martini, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 04 2013 12:28:11 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 04 2013 02:34:38 PM CST
Bucks County commissioners
DOYLESTOWN, Pa. -

Bucks County Commissioners are spending $1.2 million dollars to upgrade the county's 911 emergency communications system by entering into a 20-year lease for a tower site located in Upper Saucon Township.

County commissioners voted Wednesday to enter into a $1.2 million lease with the Crown Atlantic Co. of Canonsburg for use of a tower site located at 2200 Forest Drive, near Coopersburg. The lease includes the deployment and installation of emergency radio equipment at the site.

The system-wide 911 radio upgrade is commonly referred to as "narrowbanding."

Narrowbanding, which was mandated by the Federal Communications Commission for all public safety radio transmissions earlier this year, allows the creation of additional channel capacity within the same radio spectrum and supports more users.

Commissioners also voted to add emergency radio equipment to an existing tower site in Haycock Township and amended an existing tower lease agreement in New Hope Borough.

In other business, commissioners voted to spend $34.4 million on 2014 health care premiums for the county's 2,366 full-time employees through Independence Blue Cross of Philadelphia.

The health care contract renewal represents a $2.3 million, or 7.13 percent premium increase, according to county Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler.

Hessenthaler said the Blue Cross contract provides medical, prescription and vision coverage to a majority of county employees, who help pay for coverage through payroll contributions.

Elsewhere, commissioners announced a public hearing scheduled for Monday, Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. at the Bucks County Courthouse in Doylestown concerning the 2014 operating budget, which weighs in at $397 million.

Commissioners took time during Wednesday's meeting to recognize the Neshaminy High School girls varsity soccer team with a proclamation. The Neshaminy girls soccer team won the PIAA 3A state championship with a 25-0 record.