Kennesaw probations services contract, police radios on council agenda

Brick Kennesaw government building with four tall wooden columns

By Rebecca Gaunt

Kennesaw City Council had a full agenda for Monday’s work session, with discussions ranging from police department equipment upgrades to construction contracts, plus a cemetery with a short life span. 

Council is considering moving up the timeline for replacing radio equipment for the city police department due to a deal from Motorola and the availability of federal COVID-relief funds to pay the $1.1 million cost.

The Kennesaw Police Department has been using its current radios for about nine years. City Manager Jeff Drobney said he was planning to start setting money aside in the city budget to prepare for the eventual cost to replace them, but suggested purchasing now using state and local fiscal recovery funds provided by the American Rescue Plan.

“There have been two cost increases since October of 2021 that have added about $200,000 to the cost of the radios, so when we met with Motorola, they assured us there will be additional cost increases coming due to labor costs, production costs, and just general overhead,” he said.

Drobney said the purchase would save a significant amount of money over the long haul and keep Kennesaw in line with Cobb County and other Cobb cities that are also switching over. The upgrade will replace all portables, car radios, and base stations.

The current radios are still functional, however, Motorola will no longer support them.

Council member Antonio Jones asked whether there was potential for savings in considering quotes from other companies, but Chief Bill Westenberger and Mayor Derek Easterling voiced concerns about integrating the system with surrounding cities and the county.

“For us to step outside of those boundaries, although we might find some savings on the front end, it could be very damaging on the back end. To be honest with you, we wouldn’t have the support staff to manage that either,” Westenberger said.

Council will also vote next week whether to renew the city’s contract with Professional Probation Services, Inc. through 2028. 

Council member Pat Ferris shared constituent concerns regarding the fees incurred by people using these services and requested a review of the costs.

“My heart goes out to these people. Obviously they shouldn’t have committed a crime. But there’s so many people out there having such a hard time, that if we can find a way to help them a little bit,” Ferris said.

Drobney also gave a heads up that the city cemetery is running out of space. He expects the remaining 77 plots to sell within the next few years. 

The surrounding city land isn’t suitable for an extension either, and would likely require very expensive engineering, he added.

Ferris said the cremation garden will extend the availability a bit longer.

“If you want a spot, come and get it,” Drobney said.

In other business:

  • Council will vote Monday on a $38,500 contract with Evergreen Solutions for a comprehensive classification and compensation study.
  • Parks Director Steve Roberts recommends approval of a $6.9 million contract with Gay Construction Company for phase 8 of Depot Park construction. It includes site work, restroom facilities, the amphitheater stage, and the renovation of Carrie House.

City Council meetings are held at City Hall on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. They can also be viewed on the City of Kennesaw Facebook page.

Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.