Mar 052014

By Naomi Hatch
The federal government has mandated all emergency services be P-25 compliant and set the standard pace, Taylor Fire Chief Clint Burden explained at a joint meeting of the Taylor and Snowflake town councils last week.
“This is very expensive; the only way we can come compliant is with a grant,” he said.
Chief Burden noted that they have been given an opportunity to participate in a federal grant program through Homeland Security, but if they apply for the grant as a single agency, they most likely would not be funded. If they go in with other agencies, “you’ve got a good chance to get awarded,” he said.
The grant application includes the Taylor Fire Department, Snowflake Fire Department and Snowflake-Taylor Police Department and is requesting funding for repeaters. “We’ve got a pretty good chance of getting some gear,” said Burden. “It’s 100 percent paid, but we do have to maintain our own stuff.”
He further explained that the chiefs have worked together and prioritized needs to become P-25 compliant, and four repeaters are the first priority. Next year they will apply for another grant for radios, including mobile radios in vehicles and hand-held radios.
There is concern that the P-25 will not work in the rural areas, but the equipment will work on analogue as well as digital, and could be used in the area, Burden noted.
Both town councils approved applying for the communications grant.
In other business, both councils approved resolutions supporting the Planning Assistance for Rural Areas (PARA) application for the Freeman Hollow Corridor Study.
Snowflake Town Manager Paul Watson explained that the Freeman Hollow Corridor Study is a proposed project of Navajo County and the two towns. It meets the funding criteria, and is consistent with both town’s general plans and Navajo County’s comprehensive plan. This is transportation planning, which would provide a secondary access to allow industrial traffic off of Main Street, and would connect Taylor’s airport and go to Snowflake, and back to State Route 77. He said that the project would look at the terrain, right-of-way acquisitions and property owners in order to determine where the road should be located.