TRENTON — The Mercer County Executive has loaned New Jersey's capital city about 130 handheld radios while municipal officials pledge to work together on upgrading the city's communications system used by police, firefighters, and other emergency responders.

A statement from Mayor Reed Gusciora's office Thursday said that while the loan from Executive Brian Hughes, for which radios have been programmed to the county system, is "not optimum," it will allow Gusciora and City Council President Kathy McBride more time to negotiate a solution compatible with county operations.

Earlier in the week, Gusciora and McBride dueled through the media over a $4 million American Rescue Plan appropriation for an upgrade that the council president had refused to consider, while more than $200,000 in back fees due to the city's current provider remained unpaid.

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Gusciora's statement re-emphasized that radio service will end Oct. 31 if that payment to MPS Communications is not made.

The mayor expressed his gratitude to Hughes for agreeing to meet with city officials, and also thanked McBride for her "goodwill and willingness to work together."

McBride, whose previous comments on the radio system controversy were made via her personal Facebook page, had not made any new, public posts on the matter as of Friday afternoon.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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