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FEMA funding could decide if WPD building is selected for repairs

The city is requesting proposals from qualified firms for the repair of all damages to the Washington Police Department caused by Hurricane Florence and of communications equipment used by the department.

However, the Federal Emergency Management Agency could play a role in what happens to those repairs. Earlier this month, the City Council voted to purchase a 3.7-acre site to build a new station, the former Dr Pepper plant at the intersection of East Third Street and Bridge Street.

Proposals are due Jan. 31 at 10 a.m. The city reserves the right to reject any and all bids. The scheduled start date for the project is Feb. 12 and an end date of May 12. If the project is not completed by May 12, there will be a $100 penalty per day until the project is completed.

The department is located in a flood-prone area. Flooding from Hurricane Florence significantly damaged the department and communications equipment to the point of relocating.

“We got about 46 inches of floodwater in the building that covered the whole entire building. We lost desks, chairs and things like that. The biggest thing is we lost part of our communication system,” said Stacy Drakeford, the city’s director of police and fire services. “That was the biggest piece of that puzzle — the communications equipment.”

Federal Emergency Management Act funds are to be used to fund the contract only, if the repair contract is awarded.

“Depending on what some of the FEMA offerings are, it will be a variable, I guess, that will be under consideration with the relocation. Some of the FEMA funding would come with the contingency that the building would have to be demolished or elevated. It’s not feasible to elevate. We analyzing the options,” said City Manager Jonathan Russell.

“We’re still looking at a couple of different options for the funding and to what extent for rehab, if any,” Russell said.

If the repair contract is awarded, they include a mold/biological contaminant remediation protocol and repair of electrical damage. The scope of work includes all ducts being examined with a camera to determine condition, all ducts to be cleaned and sanitized to rid it of bacteria and other debris and replacement of all air diffusers (supply and return) to be replaced.

For the communications replacement, the scope of work includes replacing the dispatch console. Dispatch console solution must provide for the following:

  • IP-based between all main back room components and operator positions;
  • two operator positions;
  • redundant system control hardware/software independent of the operator positions;
  • software licensing for up to 10 channels of operation;
  • configured to provide for operation on the following, all should be available resources to both console positions: three VHF control stations, one Viper control station and one repeater.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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