Board approves bid for five storm sirens

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Long-awaited tornado warning sirens in Brookhaven moved a step closer toward reality Tuesday night.

City aldermen approved a bid by Precision Communications to install five electronic weather alert sirens in Brookhaven at a cost of about $79,000.

“It’s something that is well needed,” said Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron, leading the board Tuesday night as mayor pro tempore in the absence of Mayor Les Bumgarner.

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Two companies submitted bids. Precision’s competition was a bid of more than $100,000.

Local Civil Defense Director Clifford Galey recommended in writing to that the lowest bid by Precision be accepted.

Bidders had also been requested to provide an alternative bid for placing one siren on a steel or metal pole rather than a wooden pole.

Some aldermen had suggested in prior meetings that the downtown siren, which will be placed near the Lincoln County Library, could be placed on a steel pole for aesthetic reasons.

In his recommendation, Galey suggested the steel pole would only attract lightning and was not worth the additional $9,900 Precision would charge to erect one siren on a steel pole.

However, Alderman at Large Karen Sullivan expressed concerns again about the aesthetic impact on the downtown area.

She tried to press for details on the appearance of the wooden pole.

Cameron seemed to feel moving forward was the most important thing.

“You know, this is something we’ve been trying to get for the longest time,” he said.

Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell agreed to move forward on the bid approval but said the pole issue may need to be readdressed again.

Ward Six Alderman David Phillips was pleased by the bid.

“This is probably about $20,000 less than we thought it would be, so our match would be proportionately less,” he said.

The city has received a FEMA grant to cover 95 percent of the project costs, up to about $117,000.

With the subject of tornado sirens in the air, Cameron also took a minute to address some campaign rhetoric.

The mayor pro tempore said some candidates have suggested aldermen installed a weather siren in downtown, leaving much of the rest of the city unprotected.

“We have not installed one siren,” Cameron said.

Phillips added that the five siren sites have been professionally chosen to ensure full coverage of the city.

Code enforcement

In another matter that has been a perennial topic before the board, Phillips distributed a draft of an ordinance that would establish and define the duties of a city code enforcement officer,

In both the current and prior fiscal year, city leaders have allocated money in the budget for such a post, but no one has ever been hired to fill it.

During the meeting, Phillips said a final draft could be completed soon.

Poll worker pay

At the recommendation of city election commissioners, aldermen also approved a pay raise for city poll workers.

The measure will increase poll worker pay from $75 to $95, and bring box managers up from $95 to $115.

Election George Brumfield told aldermen these pay rates are identical to what county poll workers receive.

Bonita Bullock, another election commissioner, estimated the pay raises would cost the city about $900 in total.