Council discusses community storm shelter
by Rachel Davis
Jun 26, 2013 | 1552 views | 0 0 comments | 71 71 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OAKMAN — Oakman’s city council once again discussed a storm shelter for the town. Oakman had received a grant to fund the project, but ran into issues acquiring the land to place the shelter.

Mayor Dennis Welch said he had spoken at length with Roger Wilson, director of E-911 in Walker County, regarding the project. Welch said the Wilson was able to broker a deal with the housing authority so that the property will be leased to 911 for the shelter.

The city will have no ownership of the property, but will be responsible for the upkeep, insurance, maintenance, emergency staffing, etc.

In order to receive the federal grant for the shelter, it has to go on that specific piece of property. The grant will pay 75 percent of the cost and the city will foot the bill for the other 25 percent. Welch said that much of that 25 percent would come from labor costs such as installing the water lines and other work to prepare for the structure.

Council members expressed the need for a community shelter, while voicing some concerns about the arrangement. All agreed the city should support the effort, but needed more information.

“My concern is the insurance,” Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harvey said. “As long as it’s insurable, I like it.”

The proposed shelter is 10 feet wide by 50 feet long and will have electricity, bathrooms and a generator backup. Welch said it is suppose to withstand winds up to 250 miles per hour. The mayor said it will comfortably hold 96 people, although the council believes it will be capable of holding more in an emergency.

In other business:

•The council heard from Police Chief Andy Powell about the changes to the police department at the recommendation of the insurance agent. One of those changes is the implementation of a handbook.

•The council scheduled a work session for Wednesday at 6 p.m. to go over the candidates for the open magistrate position.

•Welch updated the council on the city’s finances. He cautioned about spending, especially through June, July and August, which he called “lean months” for the city.