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Aldermen mull weather siren work

Faced with having to repair an aging weather siren, Monticelloaldermen are reviewing the town’s ability to warn the public of adisaster.

The town’s present weather siren only covers approximatelytwo-thirds of the town and has to be manually turned on, said MayorDavid Nichols.

The mayor was about to repair the alarm and pay for theinstallation of a telephone line to allow for the siren to beturned on remotely when the cost made him reconsider, Nichols said.The total cost of the repair and upgrade for it to be set offremotely is estimated at $3,000 and includes a $120 per monthfee.

A second option, the mayor said, would be to get a new siren ata cost between $13,000 and $15,000, including installation. Itcould be turned on remotely through the use of radio towers.

Two sirens could possibly provide early warning for the entiretown, Nichols said, but four would be best.

A third option would be to simply do nothing, Nichols said. Thesiren could continue to be set off manually. However, his concernwas that police officers would be tied up on a call when a tornadowarning was issued and would be unable to do so.

“I’m in favor of taking some action. I think we need it,” saidWard Five Alderman Craig “Bowie” Davis.

Nichols recommended aldermen consider purchasing one siren peryear or one every other year until the system is complete.

Ward One Alderman Jerry Goode disagreed.

“We need to deal with it and get the job done,” Goode said. “Ithink the people deserve to have a warning system.”

Nichols agreed, but cautioned aldermen that the budget wasstrained this year.

“I honestly don’t think we can afford one this year,” hesaid.

The board agreed that the cost of the system, so closelyfollowing hurricane recovery efforts, might be too much this year.Aldermen agreed to repair and upgrade the old siren whileinvestigating the cost of a more complete system.

The board also agreed the remote to set off the alarm should behoused at the fire station.