Santa Fe College concerned about GRU trunked radio system bill


An email today from the Santa Fe College (SFC) Police Department Chief Ed Book to Lewis Walton at Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) expressed frustration at a bill for portable radio communications that was over 300% higher than their previous bill. Alachua County is working through a mediation process with the City of Gainesville over a similar increase, and Alachua County is researching other options for radio communications.

Book’s email said that SFC is paying the bill “in the absence of any immediate operational alternative” but that he has “been directed to research alternative communications options.” The bill was $$38,888.23 higher than the bill they expected.

Book wrote that he hoped an “equitable billing protocol” would be used beginning in September 2021, the beginning of the next bill cycle. He also asked GRU staff to research how little the college uses the radio system: “The new College PD billing rate appears excessively high. The Santa Fe College Police Department has only 17 sworn personnel and our own dispatch center. The talk time formula skews police use of the system for speaking on the radio while fire services use the system but typically have very few audible communications.  Another example – our cost is approx. 1/2 that of the University of Florida which has over 5 times the personnel.  Lastly, SF uses only a small portion of the County system primarily from towers around the NW campus but is paying for infrastructure costs county-wide and used by larger agencies with much wider jurisdictions.”