CROWN POINT | Lake County Commissioners will finally open sealed bids next month to buy millions of dollars in public safety communications gear.
The Board of Commissioners will hold a special meeting 9 a.m. Feb. 7 to examine the prices offered by: Motorola, Harris Corp., Cassidian Communications and EF Johnson.
The bids were submitted last week, but commissioners delayed opening them until the county E-911 director, deputy director and a group of municipal police and fire officials quiz the potential vendors about the technical details of the equipment they are offering to sell.
Commissioners said they didn't want the technical advisers to be influenced by the price offering before they rated the quality of the equipment being offered.
Lake County Commissioner President Mike Repay, D-Hammond, said Wednesday the scores the technical advisers assign to each vendor's equipment will be made public at next month's meeting in addition to the prices.
Commissioners had the authority under state law to privately bargain down the prices with vendors before all the numbers were made public, but Repay said he doesn't expect that to happen. He previously raised concerns that the process be as transparent as possible.
County officials expect to spend more than $11 million on state-of-the-art communications infrastructure, from radio towers to mobile devices that will permit 17 different departments to communicate more easily with one another.
The infrastructure is needed to allow all public safety responders to communicate more efficiently on a single countywide network. State law mandates a merger of county and municipal police and fire dispatch centers by the end of this year.