ALBANY - Five local Southern Tier counties will share $55 million in state funding with counties throughout the state to enhance and support local emergency communications systems.

The counties are being awarded a total of $45 million to undertake infrastructure, equipment and technology upgrades, according to Sen. Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats.   

The assistance is part of the latest round of funding through the Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant program, a competitive grant program supporting regional communications partnerships throughout the state. 

O’Mara said an additional $10 million is being distributed through the state’s Public Safety Answering Points Operations Grant program to support emergency call centers.

“These timely and important public safety and emergency response grants should make a great difference to local emergency response teams,” O’Mara said. “Emergency preparedness, response and recovery are fundamental government responsibilities.”

To date, the state has awarded $275 million for interoperable radio communications and emergency services dispatching services, O’Mara said. Participation in the programs have more than doubled since 2010.

O’Mara said that the counties he represents as part of New York’s 58th Senate District are receiving the following awards through the Interoperable Communications Grant and Public Safety Answering Points Operations Grant programs:

-- Steuben County, $804,996, (Interoperable) and $195,340, (Public Safety)

-- Chemung County, $543,685 (Interoperable) and $197,248, (Public Safety

-- Schuyler  County, $381,179, (Interoperable) and $193,631, (Public Safety)

-- Yates County, $350,954, (Interoperable) and $188,139, (Public Safety)

-- Tompkins County, $704,018, (Interoperable) and $148,478, (Public Safety)