City votes to purchase weather siren

Published 12:37 pm Thursday, August 18, 2011

The city board voted Tuesday to allocate$30,000 for the purchase of a weather siren.

    “We are one of the few communities around without it,” said WardSix Alderman David Phillips. “We are without any kind of warningfor the general public.”

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    The board had tasked Phillips and Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameronwith investigating the city’s weather alert options. The motion,made by Cameron, to amend the city budget to purchase the sirencomposed their final recommendation.

    Depending on the siren selected, the cost is estimated at $24,000to $30,000.

    Brookhaven-Lincoln County Civil Defense Director Clifford Galleywill choose a particular siren and a location to place it. He willbring those decisions to the board in the form of arecommendation.

    Galley said his goal is to have a recommendation by the first boardmeeting in September. The board could approve the purchase at thattime.

    The board must also decide who will have the authority to initiatethe siren.

    Galley said he is weighing the difference in cost between sirenswith a one-mile radius and those with a two-mile radius.

    “Right now we are looking at putting it somewhere downtown to getthe most coverage,” Galley said.

    No opposition to the motion was voiced, though Ward Five AldermanD.W. Maxwell did issue a reminder that the phone alert systemsexamined by the board were significantly cheaper: $10,000 orless.

    In response, Cameron and Phillips both emphasized the need toremedy the city’s absence of a weather alert system quickly.

    Phillips explained that tornado sirens were running in Joplin, Mo.,approximately 20 minutes before that city was struck by adestructive tornado in May.

    “They still had loss of life. Where would Brookhaven be withouteven that (a siren)?” Phillips said.

    Phillips also said that phone alerts have limitations, such as thepotential of low participation, and said the city ultimately needsboth.

    “Both sirens and calls are great tools,” Phillips said. “We needboth to offer our citizens a level of security they haven’t hadbefore.”

    Maxwell also asked if any Lincoln County leaders had offered input.Phillips said he and Cameron had not talked to any county officialsbecause of the ongoing elections.

    The board also took action Tuesday to put an animal control officerback into the police force.

    Police Chief Pap Henderson recommended the hiring of twocandidates: Andy Leggett and Sharon Norton.

    Leggett was approved at a wage of $9.50 an hour, and Norton at$10.50 per hour.

    Henderson also made a request, approved by the city, that fineslevied against the owners of animals that must be picked up beincreased from $10 to $30.

    “We got to get people’s attention. $10 is not getting anyone’sattention,” Henderson said.

    The board further approved a bid of $49,435.30 by T & SServices to undertake the Linbrook Business Park landscapingproject.