PARIS — The Oxford County Commission on Thursday morning approved the Oxford County Regional Communications Center entering an agreement to purchase a $4.6 million countywide public safety radio network with Radio Communication Management.

The bid from Radio Communication Management of Portland was higher than one by Dirigo Wireless of Gray, but an evaluation review team determined that Radio Communication Management’s equipment was superior by a significant margin.

On a 100-point evaluation scale, the Portland company scored 32 points higher than Dirigo.

The Radio Communication Management system uses 13 transmitter sites, compared to Dirigo’s 12 sites.

Members of the evaluation team were communications center Director Geff Imnan, Rumford Deputy Fire Chief Chris Bryant, technical adviser Rick Davol, Fryeburg Fire Chief Andy Dufresne, Oxford Fire Chief Paul Hewey, Sweden Deputy Fire Chief Tom McKenzie and Normand Boucher, the principal consultant for the Communications Design Consulting Group.

“This system will be a real game changer for the county,” Boucher said.


According to a report that accompanied the committee’s recommendations, “in 2018, Oxford County first responders expressed to county officials the inadequacy of the existing radio system not providing the level of communication needed for reliable public safety communication. There are certain areas within Oxford County where radio signals are nonexistent and several areas where you cannot transmit by portable radio and often times not even by remote radio.”

It further stated that the system was “essentially obsolete, based on 1950s user expectations and technology.”

County officials and their legal team will finalize the contract, which is expected to be ready by the commissioners’ next meeting Feb. 21.

In other business, commissioners accepted a $32,000 grant from the Stanton Foundation in Massachusetts to reestablish a K-9 unit, contingent upon the county reaching an agreement with the union on compensation. If an agreement cannot be reached with the union, commissioners said the county will reject the money.

Commissioners hired Darren Goyette as full-time deputy register of deeds and Tabaitha Steward as part-time registry of deeds clerk. The board agreed to transfer Mikayla Dow from full-time dispatcher to part-time dispatcher. The resignation of Deputy Michael St. Laurent was also accepted.

The board authorized hiring a dispatcher and a deputy, both full-time positions.

Commissioners also heard a presentation from Daniel Sites, who was seeking funds for the Lights Out Gallery and Design, a new arts center planned at 10 Tannery St., Norway, at the site of the former Tubbs Snowshoe Factory. The facility will include a dance studio, an art gallery, a co-working space and a maker space for the community.

While no specific dollar amount was requested, county Administrator Donald Durrah said it was premature for the county, which has not spent any of its allotted $11 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, to allocate money contracts are awarded for the countywide public safety radio network and an HVAC system overhaul in the county jail.

“We need to hold off until we know the costs,” Durrah said. “I need to make sure those two projects are fully funded.”

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