Sunday, March 06, 2016

City's Capital Improvement Project List Includes New Emergency Item

One can hardly view a San Angelo City Council meeting without encountering holes left from past councils.  The March 1 Council meeting revealed several craters, both around emergency communications.  The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) discussion indicated the city's new emergency dispatch system would not work with the Fire Department's emergency alert program.  The vendor has an interface for the company that provides the means to alert San Angelo firefighters of a call, just not one old enough to meet the city's antiquated needs.

In telling the story Police Chief Tim Vasquez informed Council how technology improved while their predecessors refused to update the city's emergency systems capabilities.  When a critical emergency system is still in place when the vendor stopped maintaining it in 2006, something is wrong.

The city is paying the price for decades of under investment in street and water infrastructure.  Police department staff used streets as a defense for not knowing the city would need to spend another $500,000.

There is another option.  The city can pay the vendor to write an interface to it's 1980's era technology.  Council will take this up in their strategic planning session on Tuesday, March 8.  I look forward to watching the event on the city's YouTube channel.  It will be the first televised planning session since 2013.

Council members highlighted how the public needs to voice their concerns and priorities now for elected officials to take them into consideration.  For the last two years Council was not open in their strategic planning deliberations.  The 2014 planning session was held out of town, while the 2015 session occurred at Fort Concho.  Neither were recorded for the public to view and weigh in on with their council representatives.

It would behoove the city to share their deliberations openly ff council truly wants public input and comment.  It's been a two year wait.  Those who watched the March 1 Council meeting received a "to be continued" notice on the surprise $500,000 fire department expenditure.  Good news, it's only a week's wait away.

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