Newnan to consider $1 million move to digital radio

Newnan City Council will consider spending more than $1 million to move the city’s old public safety communications system over to Coweta County’s new digital radio system during its regular meeting Tuesday.
Also on the agenda are contract proposals regarding converting the old Newnan Hospital on Jackson Street into a new satellite campus for the University of West Georgia, and holiday bonuses for city employees.
The county switched over to the new 700 MHz digital system about a year ago, and it provides more channels and clearer reception.
“Due to changes in the terrain from construction and material type in some buildings, the coverage has diminished, causing dead spots for the current radio system,” Newnan Police Chief Buster Meadows said in a letter to council. The new system would eliminate those dead spots.
The $1,092,639 cost includes about $702,000 in equipment and first-year maintenance, and roughly $390,000 for a three-channel expansion of the county’s system to add Newnan. The radios would be used primarily for Newnan police, fire and public works departments.
Funding for the project will come from about $501,000 in 2012 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenues and about $592,000 from the drug seizure fund, according to documents.

The city council, which meets at 6:30 p.m. at city hall, also will review a proposed contract between it and the University System Board of Regents regarding the old hospital as a new college campus. The agreement is a step in formalizing the proposal.

Preliminary plans call for the city to oversee a $15 million renovation of the facility, with the Regents in turn buying it for $5 million. Contingent upon the deal is passing an environmental assessment. The agreement also calls for Newnan Hospital Inc. to give the buildings and adjoining 6.13 acres to Newnan, as well as provide about $4.2 million in cash.

The Coweta County Board of Commissioners has tentatively agreed to contribute $534,000 toward the project, as well as release the university from its current obligations at its existing complex in the Shenandoah Industrial Park.

Also on the agenda is a proposal to give staff Christmas bonuses based on length of service. A resolution states the bonuses are customary when sufficient funds exist, those funds are available and staff have “worked to provide a high level of service to our citizens while simultaneously controlling expenses.”

The bonuses would be: full-time employees employed on or before Dec. 31, 2011 - two weeks’ base salary; full-time employees employed between Jan. 1 and June 30 - one week’s base salary; part-time employees employed on or before June 30, 2012 and full-time employees employed between July 1, and Oct. 31 – $200.

In other action, council:

• Is expected to approve a rental agreement between it and the Newnan Convention Center Authority for use of the Newnan Centre, currently under construction off Lower Fayetteville Road.

“The City of Newnan shall have the right to utilize the Newnan Centre for any official city event, or any other event deemed appropriate by the City Manager, during non-peak times,” according to language in the agreement. The authority operates the centre, but the city owns it. The facility is adjacent to the Coweta County School System’s Centre for Performing and Visual Arts.

• Approve a recommendation from the city’s Business Development Office to award a nearly $25,000 contract to Sky Design to create a “Gateway Signage Master Plan.”

“Redevelopment of entry corridors is intricately tied to the continued vitality of the community,” according to agenda documents.

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