Radio upgrade cost: $27 million

It could cost as much as $27 million to upgrade and replace Sedgwick County's radio communication system, county officials said Tuesday.

The move would improve coverage, which currently leaves some sheriff's officials with poor communications service in certain pockets of the county.

On top of eliminating areas of poor or no radio service, the improvements would replace a 15-year-old 800-megahertz analog system that vendors may no longer be providing maintenance and parts for after 2012.

The proposed new setup would be a digital P25 system.

The estimated cost of $23 million to $27 million would include building or leasing radio towers, radio equipment, network connections, personal radios and other hardware and software.

A request for proposals is planned for later this winter, and a recommended contract could come to Sedgwick County commissioners in June or July.

The system would take 18 to 24 months to set up.

The system is in the county's long-range capital improvement budget, and about $4 million could be tapped from the county's emergency communications reserve fund.

Commissioner Richard Ranzau said he wants the county to put as much money down as possible to avoid financing costs on bonds.