Radio Upgrade Referendum Needed, Two Candidates Say

NORRISTOWN PA – Montgomery County should ask its voters whether spending $50 million to upgrade the county police radio system is a good idea, county commissioner candidates Jenny Brown and Bruce Castor suggested Monday (July 25, 2011).

Bruce Castor and Jenny Brown

Castor claimed the expense would put the county further in debt. “Police and the taxpayers both deserve the best” protection available, he said, but added that the public should be allowed to voice “opinions on the single most expensive project in county history.”

Lower Pottsgrove (PA) Township Police Chief Michael Shade and Manager Rodney Hawthorne both favor the upgrade, but the Board of Commissioners has yet to take an official position on the topic. Borough councils in Pottstown and Collegeville have voted against it as being too costly.

The county must change its radio system under an order from the Federal Communications Commission. The proposed upgrade is one option, but not the least expensive, available to meet the requirement.

“We can put our radio system into compliance with new federal guidelines at no cost to the county, then revisit the issue of upgrading the entire system when county finances improve,” Castor contended.

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