Supervisors delay action on park siren

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Weather sirens and alerts continued to be a major topic with the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors.

     Lincoln County Civil Defense Director Clifford Galey spoke about the sirens during Monday’s meeting at the Lincoln County/Brookhaven Government Complex.

     Galey said the weather alert siren project for the city of Brookhaven is moving forward.

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     However, a problem with the sirens is they will only alert those in the city of impending weather, and they will not reach inside homes if there is a conflict with other loud noises. Those in the county will most likely not be able to hear the sirens in the event of a weather emergency alert.

     Galey said the Industrial Development Foundation asked the city and county to split the cost of a $15,000 weather siren in the Linbrook Business Park, which lies just outside of the city limits.

     “People with the new industrial park think they’ll need it with the buildings being in the way and people being inside,” Galey said. “I think a siren would be a benefit to the park.”

     The city applied for a $120,000 grant that would cover five sirens in the city, but due to the new industrial park’s location outside the city limits, it would not be covered. Galey expects the city to receive the grant soon.

     The board opted to take the matter under advisement after members voiced concerns over spending additional money out of an already tight budget for the additional siren.

     District Three Supervisor Nolan Williamson said he thinks other methods of alerting the public should be employed.

     “Why didn’t the Legislature put a tax-free incentive on weather radios?” he said. “That should be a top priority.”

     Galey did say the federal government has a new system that begins in July that will send weather alerts to all people with newer cell phones that are capable of receiving the alert. To opt out, someone would have to go online and take their number off the alert list, according to Galey.

     There is one thing about the phone alerts that Galey sees as being a potential problem.

     “I have concerns about people getting too many alerts and disabling the feature,” he said.

     Also at the meeting, Williamson said subcontractors for AT&T might be placing fiber optic lines incorrectly in his district. The board then asked Ryan Holmes of Dungan Engineering to get a representative from AT&T to attend the board’s next meeting to discuss the matter.

     “Sometimes they tear up pavement and just leave it without telling anyone,” said Williamson. “I’d rather have someone alert me of a problem instead of stumbling upon it.”

     After the meeting, supervisors headed to Biloxi for the 2012 Mississippi Association of Supervisors Convention that runs from Monday through Friday.