Judge orders Trenton emergency radio system to remain on

Trenton City Hall

Trenton City Hall. (P. Kenneth Burns/WHYY)

Updated at 7:40 p.m.

Trenton residents can continue to count on first responders receiving calls for help.

A superior court judge in Mercer County issued an injunction Thursday prohibiting MPS Communications from cutting off the city’s emergency radio system for non-payment of services. The system is used by police officers and firefighters to respond to calls to the city’s 911 system.

The company is owed more than $200,000 that the city council refused to pay claiming breach of contract due to the radio system’s failures.

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“I believe that [the vendor] that is there had too many failures in their system,” said Council President Kathy McBride referring to MPS, “too many infractions to move forward with them.”

The shutdown of the city’s emergency system would have taken place Sunday had the company not received payment.

Mayor Reed Gusciora welcomed the judge’s decision calling it “the best of all worlds.”

“This would have been the worst Halloween trick that would have happened to the capital city,” he said. “We can’t simply leave our emergency communication system in the dark.”

Gusciora and McBride agree that the current system needs to be replaced, but the two have been fighting over the best way to do so.

The mayor implored the council to use $4 million from the federal American Rescue Plan to buy new equipment that was compatible with Mercer County’s 911 system and emergency radio frequencies. That item was taken off of the council’s agenda prior to their meeting last week.

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McBride, in a statement from over the weekend, said the Gusciora administration was asking for a “blank check” to fix a problem it had known about for years. On Thursday, she said she wanted an overhaul of the city’s radio room, not to just simply replace equipment, and move the city’s emergency frequencies to the 800Mhz band.

“I believe that rather than to Band-Aid this issue, that we should address it and we should move to build out that radio room and give residents the state-of-the-art,” she said.

Gusciora said his administration will make a presentation to the council at their next meeting on Nov. 4.

“We hope that council will approve the best option and to use American Recovery funds so that it won’t hurt any local taxpayers,” he said.

 

 

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