Penobscot County commissioners will hold three in-person public hearings this month about the $6-million bond issue on the July 14 ballot.

If approved, the money would be used to upgrade equipment on towers that relay signals to emergency responders and in the Penobscot County Communications Center.

The first public hearing will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the commissioners’ chambers at 97 Hammond St. in Bangor. The second will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the cafeteria of Old Town High School, 203 Stillwater Ave. The third will be at 6:30 p.m. June 30 at Corinna Elementary School, 42 Stetson Road.

The law requires that an in-person public hearing on proposed bond issues be held in each of the three commissioners’ districts before Election Day.

The current equipment on the towers was installed in 1997 and parts are no longer available when it breaks down, director Christopher Lavoie said last month.

The bond would need to be repaid within 10 years, the duration of the equipment’s warranty, he said. If the measure passes, it would take between 12 and 18 months to get the new equipment installed and operating.

The communications center, located on the third floor of the historic Penobscot County Courthouse, is the busiest in the state.

In 2019, it handled 63,830 calls to 911, 289,301 non-emergency calls and more than 1.5 million calls from first responders in the field to the center.

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