MIDDLESEX COUNTY – Woodbridge Township Mayor John E. McCormac, South Amboy Mayor John T. O’Leary, Carteret Mayor Daniel J. Reiman, and Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz, announced Monday that the four Middlesex County communities have received a $22,734 grant from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs to perform a radio communications engineering feasibility study for a shared emergency communications system.
The joint study will determine the best way to link a new state-of-the-art radio and emergency communications system currently being installed by Woodbridge Township with police and emergency responders from Woodbridge and the three neighboring municipalities of South Amboy, Carteret and Perth Amboy.
“Our goal is to consolidate services and programs, implement cost-reduction initiatives and reduce the cost of government wherever possible while maintaining essential public services – and shared services with neighboring communities and government agencies is the best vehicle to accomplish real savings and efficiencies,” said McCormac. “We are working with local, county and state agencies to possibly share services and costs not only for emergency radio communications, but for a host of other services such as trash collection, animal control and sheltering services, public libraries, joint housing, building and zoning inspections, and infrastructure maintenance (roads, sewers and equipment repair) along with other services and programs that must be provided to residents and taxpayers,”
“The potential impact of a shared service agreement among our communities is huge,” said O’Leary. “This grant will enable us to study this area of service and plan for the best case scenario with regard to expansion of services, cost saving initiatives, and an area-wide consistent level of safety and security. It is imperative, especially in this fiscal climate to investigate every avenue of savings to municipalities and the SHARE grant offers us the opportunity to do that along with enhanced services.”
“Aside from the appeal of potential cost reduction in our municipal operations,” Reiman added, “this initiative will be vital towards the expansion of shared services that have already begun benefiting our communities. The SHARE grant will establish a foundation upon which our various local emergency service departments can work together, allowing for increased efficiency and more advanced operations. These are crucial objectives in an era when national safety and security have become major concerns to the greater community.”
In announcing the state SHARE grant, McCormac noted that a shared emergency communications system between Woodbridge, South Amboy, Carteret and Perth Amboy will enhance public safety in the region and provide improved communication capacity to the more than 30 police, fire, EMS, local government services, and related public safety agencies. Woodbridge Township will coordinate the study to determine the feasibility of sharing the trunked radio system among the three municipalities – the study will evaluate cost savings, operational advantages, long-term savings for maintenance and future upgrades, and the interoperability offered by upgrading the four municipal communications systems.
In the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, the federal Department of Homeland Security and the State of New Jersey determined the need for state, county and municipal police and emergency management agencies to upgrade and/or implement radio communications networks capable of accommodating the needs of all public safety users – police, fire, EMS, and municipal government agencies. As a result of the federal/state mandate, the Township of Woodbridge – the fifth largest municipality in the state – began planning for the staged implementation of a comprehensive public safety radio communications system that will allow the township’s public service entities (police, fire, EMS and local government services) to intercommunicate. The new Woodbridge Township Public Safety Communications System will replace the current radio communications system that was installed in 1978. The Woodbridge Township Police Department currently receives more than 100,000 calls service a year.