Toms River officials on Tuesday night voted to bond $5 million to purchase equipment in order to switch the township’s emergency radio frequencies under a federal mandate.
About $250,000 of the project cost will be funded under a matching state grant. The need for new radio equipment is the result of a requirement by the federal government that emergency communications be moved out of cluttered 400Mhz band. It is part of a nationwide effort of updating police radios to be more efficient using “narrowband” technology and rebranding frequencies.
“Because of that we have to sustain some significant costs including new radio towers,” said Alex Davidson, the township’s Chief Financial Officer. “Plus, of course, new radios.”
While switching frequencies will be costly, it technically will not place any new level of debt on the township. Council members voted to cancel $5 million of unused bonding simultaneous to the new bond measure.
“We’re doing this to maintain our spending level, so we’re authorizing $5 million on one side and cancelling $5 million on the other side,” said Davidson.
The previous spending was authorized but the bonds were never issued.