What is the cost of using and maintaining the Butler Regional Interoperable Communications System?  This question is frequently asked and often misunderstood, so we hope this provides some clarity.

Building the System

The Butler County Board of Commissioners enacted a 0.5% sales tax in August 2005 to fund the $35 million cost of the radio system.  The money raised built the system and provided radios for every public safety agency in the county and dispatch consoles for the nine dispatch centers.  In 2008, the tax was decreased to 0.25% and was, in part, designated to fund the ongoing maintenance of system infrastructure.

Initially provided by the 0.5% sales tax:

around 20 MILLION
A state of the art, 14-tower, digital, trunked radio system

around 10 MILLION
31 dispatch consoles for the nine communications centers in our county

around 5 MILLION
2000+ radios to provide for every law enforcement, fire and EMS agency in Butler County

Provided by the ongoing 0.25% sales tax:

Maintenance and insurance on the radio system infrastructure, to include the radio towers, tower site equipment, networks and system controller equipment

User Access Fees

Butler County was fortunate to obtain funding to provide for the ongoing maintenance of system infrastructure.  Many large public safety radio systems charge local agencies a subscription fee to cover this cost, much like a cell phone plan.  The state of Ohio’s MARCS system, for instance, charges users $20 per radio, per month.  The state of Michigan’s system charges $100 to $200 per radio, per year depending on usage.

The commissioners have waived any user access fees for public safety agencies based in Butler County. Users fees have been established for non-public safety users. Visit the Join BRICS page to learn more about the system access fee schedule.

Local Agency Responsibilities

The local public safety agencies who were provided radios and consoles by the county are responsible for maintenance and insurance of that equipment only.

All radios and consoles, whether they are owned by the local political subdivision or by the county, must be insured by the agency using them.

The Board of Commissioners, in cooperation with BRICS staff, have agreed to offer a maintenance plan to BRICS agencies that will allow for radio maintenance at a cost below what might be available commercially.

Learn more about the maintenance plan.

Participation Agreement

The responsibilities of the county and subscriber agencies have been defined in the Participation Agreement. Exhibit B of the agreement lists various example scenarios and the party or parties responsible for the costs involved.

Note: The breakdown of the $35 million system, console and subscriber cost is approximated for illustrative purposes only.