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Local News

Summit County Search and Rescue Lobbies for Bigger Budget

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Summit County Search and Rescue Facebook
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The Friends of Summit County Search and Rescue presented a budget request to the Summit County Council at its meeting Wednesday.

 

Search and rescue is a reality of everyday life in the Wasatch Back. Summit County Search and Rescue responded to 16 emergency calls last month. Crews helped in everything from lost hikers in the Uintas, to separated parties right here in the Park City area.

 

Summit County Search and Rescue is made up of 38 volunteers who perform over 90 missions per year across nearly 1,900 square miles of terrain.

 

At Wednesday’s Summit County Council meeting, Friends of Summit County Search and Rescue presented a proposal asking to upgrade some aging equipment, and refresh the department’s radios.

 

All together, the search and rescue wish list includes roughly $275,000 dollars in equipment, including an ask for two six-wheel vehicles that will help crews access remote areas quickly, and a snowcat with a price tag of $150,000.

 

Friends of Summit County Search and Rescue’s Canice Harte told the council the specialized radios used by rescue crews need replacing soon, whether the county wants to or not, thanks to a statewide upgrade to the system the 800 megahertz radios operate on.   

 

“It’s funny when you think of that radio, one radio costs $1,700 dollars, and that’s actually at a pretty good discount,” he said. “If we try to buy this as a civilian, they’re really expensive, these 800 megahertz radios. But that’s what the county needs, that’s what operates on the system. The entire operating system for all the radios is changing. I think in about a year or so. All the old, old radios are just going to become bricks, and that’s everybody in the state, so everybody is having to upgrade.”

 

Summit County began its yearly budgeting process in June before a recommended budget is presented to the county council on October 13th. Councilor Doug Clyde told KPCW there is a formal process all requests must go through before money can be allocated towards a particular department.

 

“The budgeting process is coming up,” Clyde said. “Certainly among our priorities would be to properly fund these people. As usual, their request will get aggregated with every other department, so it remains to be seen, but obviously we’re very supportive of search and rescue.”

 

Summit County passed a $57.4 million 2021 budget last December. After the recommended 2022 budget is presented, informational sessions will take place through November 1st before public hearings begin at the beginning of December.

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