Public vote on Wilton emergency communications system delayed until fall, first selectman says

Wilton Police Chief John Lynch has said that continuing with the town's current, outdated emergency communications system is

Wilton Police Chief John Lynch has said that continuing with the town’s current, outdated emergency communications system is “not really an option.”

Alex Von Kleydorff / Hearst Connecticut Media

WILTON — A public vote on the town’s emergency communications system will likely be delayed several months until the late fall, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice said.

While town officials had hoped a public vote could be held in May, Vanderslice said last week it will likely need to be delayed until October or early November. Vanderslice and Police Chief John Lynch said the communications system will likely share a ballot with the bonded project proposal for a new police station.

“The reason for both of them now being later in the year instead of May is because neither of them are ready yet,” Vanderslice said. “We would have been rushing the consultant.”

Police Commission Chairman Donald Sauvigne pointed out that while the communications system and the police headquarters project will be on the same ballot, they are not related. In addition to the police department, the fire, public works and emergency medical services use the communications system.

Paul Zito, owner of New England Radio Consultants, has been hired to examine the two possible options for the communications system, Wilton Police Capt. Thomas Conlan said during last week’s Police Commission meeting. Conlan could not say when Zito’s work will be completed.

In recent months, town officials have discussed two possible options: A complete replacement of the emergency communications system, which has been deemed outdated, or joining the state police’s emergency radio system.

Lynch has said continuing with the outdated system is “not really an option.”

“We absolutely have to do this,” Vanderslice said. “It is critical.”

After the town conducted an initial analysis earlier this year, Vanderslice has said a new, standalone system would cost roughly $2.5 million, while joining the state’s system would cost about $4 million.

As with any bonded project, Vanderslice said it will have to be approved by a public vote after a final decision and cost is determined. She said funds allocated to the town by the American Rescue Plan, which is expected to be around $5.3 million, could influence the decision about the project.