Johns Creek Opts Out of North Fulton Radio System

Alpharetta, Milton, Roswell and Sandy Springs would have to absorb costs.

The Johns Creek City Council on Monday voted unanimously to opt out of an intergovernmental operating agreement among North Fulton cities to create a new public safety radio system.

The system is planned as a replacement for Fulton County's ailing system, which is 20-years-old and described as "failing."

Under the terms of the new system agreement, Johns Creek would have paid more than $2 million for initial capitalization, not including yearly maintenance costs, etc.

Since Johns Creek rejected the IGA, the other four cities will have to go back and approve a modified version of both the IGA and the cost-sharing document.

James Drinkard, assistant city administrator for Alpharetta, said the vote on the original IGA was linked to a price, or cost.

"That cost was based on participation by all of the cities," Drinkard said. "Johns Creek deciding not to participate changes that cost, which means we have to bring everything back to council."

Jason Wright, communications manager for Milton said all the cities are going to have to do that. Milton probably will have a special meeting in which the terms of the IGA are slightly modified for four of the five cities in North Fulton – Roswell, Alpharetta, Milton and Sandy Springs.

Wright said the costs Johns Creek would have paid will be absorbed by the other cities.

Chief among the city council's complaints was a feeling that the other cities – Alpharetta, Sandy Springs, Milton and Roswell – had rushed to an agreement based upon the vendor's promise of a discount if a contract was signed in a certain amount of time.

The cities chose Motorola without going through a bidding process, which "should have been more open," said Johns Creek's City Manager John Kachmar.

"We've questioned the process and not been given an assurance that the process wasn't handled less than stellar," said Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker. He later added that he felt like the sister cities were well-intended, but disagreed with their process.

Additionally, Fulton County itself is working on a new system, having issued a request for bid proposals due Jan. 30.

"They're doing what they need to do," Kachmar said.

Council members expressed concern that Johns Creek taxpayers would therefore be funding two new systems if the council signed an agreement – Fulton County's and North Fulton County's.

"Why burden the taxpayers with another system," said council member Brad Raffensperger.

The council agreed to explore other options, which could include using the new system put in place by Fulton County, doing their own study and coming up with an individual plan, or partnering with neighboring counties like Gwinnett and Forsyth, which is currently Johns Creek's back-up system.

Bob Pepalis contributed to this article.

Tony January 16, 2013 at 08:20 PM
I see a trend of other cities not wanting to work a Alpharetta police. Why?
Bob Pepalis January 17, 2013 at 01:01 AM
What makes you see a trend? Three of the four other North Fulton cities have agreed to this radio system with Alpharetta. Milton and Alpharetta have cross-sworn their officers and cooperate with dispatching and emergency response.The Alpharetta jail is leased by Fulton County.
JAH January 17, 2013 at 03:01 PM
If there is a trend, it appears to be Johns Creek having difficulty working with its neighboring cities. Perhaps they should align themselves even more with Gwinnett county (shudder).


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