Los Angeles City Council members voted unanimously November 18th to opt out of its membership the the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS), citing potential cost advantages by taking the action and plans to deploy a new city-owned land-mobile-radio (LMR) network during the next 13 months.
“It is in the City’s best interest to opt out of LA-RICS, because the City will be able to upgrade its existing system and use existing infrastructure at a lower cost, while still achievingwithin the region,” according to a report provided to council members by the city’s Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA) Sharon Tso and City Administrative Officer (CAO) Miguel Santana.
Council members approved the measure by a 12-0 vote. During the meeting, there was no council discussion or verbal description of the measure, which was referenced publicly only as “Item 31.” The matter was discussed on Tuesday by the city council’s public-safety committee, which allowed public comment on the matter.
During the past month, there had been considerable speculation that the city of Los Angeles would opt out of LA-RICS, according to multiple sources. Indeed, the possibility has been discussed for most of this year, but city officials have played key roles in revamping the design of the LA-RICS public-safetynetwork and in getting Congress to pass a law that apparently will give LA-RICS a five-year extension to use federal grant money.
LA-RICS recently completed construction of the first phase of its public-safety LTE system, which was reduced from 232 sites to 77 sites—21 of which are owned by the city of Los Angeles—as part of a redesign approved by the Los Angeles City Council in the spring. LA-RICS also plans to build anetwork in the region, but design plans for that system have not been finalized, as environmental requirements are not expected to be done until mid-2016, according to the report.
With the council vote, the city of Los Angeles no longer is a member of LA-RICS, although it will remain an LA-RICS affiliate that can subscribe to the network and provide infrastructure assets, like towers. By taking the action before a Nov. 24 deadline established by LA-RICS, the city of Los Angeles will not be financially liable for any additional costs associated with LA-RICS deployments, as well as the potential of having to repay Los Angeles County for funds it provided to LA-RICS during the past two years, according to the city report.