Reader: Taxpayers are the real safety center prisoners

To the Editor:

In 1999 the commissioners secretly paid nearly $400,000 for four microwave stations. The purchase was never put out to competitive bid to get the best price in accordance with county resolution 1999-42.

The microwaves are used exclusively by CSP/911 at the public safety center (PSC). They're installed on Cedar Mountain, Walton Peak (near Rabbit Ears), Grouse Mountain (near Kremmling) and the PSC.

The Board of County Commissioners never charged the state for them and it's not priced into the CSP/911 rental contract. The microwaves are simply a backup or "redundant loop" in case the NC Telecom (NCT) fiber optic line to Grand Junction breaks. I'm told a microwave link was in place and working for CSP/911 before the PSC was built new equipment was part of a State "wish list."

Apparently, the commissioners agreed to provide free communications to the CSP/911 to keep them from leaving town in 1999, but only 45 megabits (single DS3) over the NCT fiber optic lines. Forty-five mbs (single DS3) equals 720 simultaneous voice calls.

With courthouse documents obtained through the Open Records Act, I discovered the new microwave equipment has the capacity of 155 mbs -- 3-DS3 channels. That's equal to 2,160 simultaneous 911 calls. Experts say single DS3 microwaves are 1/3 the cost of what commissioners purchased.

Let's do the math: 1/3 of $400,000 equals $133,000 and represents a savings of $266,000 to taxpayers.

There's no reasonable justification to buy the CSP/911 three times the microwave capacity for a backup that may never be used. $266,000 was thrown away and the taxpayers must repay approximately $600,000 to finance the lease-purchase over the next 25 years. Raftopoulos and Dickinson gave you good folks a needless 25-year sentence of hard labor to pay for their mistakes.

Jeff Taylor,

Palm Desert, Calif.

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