Repairs on weather sirens continue
by Jennifer Cohron
Feb 20, 2014 | 1039 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Thirteen broken weather sirens are working again and 12 others can be repaired as soon as parts arrive, Walker County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Regina Myers announced during Wednesday’s county commission meeting.

In December, Myers reported that only 14 of 45 outdoor warning sirens in the county were confirmed to be working. Problems ranged from improper installation to dead batteries.

Bobby Jackson, owner of Jackson Communication Service, has been conducting repairs to sirens that could bypass the bid process because they are located on public property.

On Wednesday, the commission awarded bids to Jackson Communication Service for seven sirens that are not located on public property and two that must be replaced because they were struck by lightning.

Myers said $21,000 has been spent on the project so far.

District 1 Commissioner Keith Davis noted that the combined cost of the repairs and the two replacements will exceed the $55,000 set aside by the commission.

The sirens that will be replaced on Burrows Crossing Road and in the Dilworth community will cost $16,950 each. The cost to the county will be approximately $21,200 with the grant funding.

“When we set the initial amount, it was for the repairs. On top of that was the purchase of the two new sirens. One had a grant with it so that we only had to pay 25 percent of the total cost of it. We had to pay for the other one in full,” Myers said.

District 3 Commissioner Bobby Nunnelley asked why grants were not available to cover both projects. Myers said the funding that had been approved for the first siren was not available once officials learned the second siren was no longer operational.

District 4 Commissioner Steven Aderholt said commissioners owe it to their constituents to find the necessary funds to get all sirens in working order.

“Even if we have to borrow $10,000 to get a tower fixed, every citizen needs to be covered by a tower in Walker County if we are going to have a tower anywhere,” Aderholt said.

Aderholt and Davis also noted that the county spent money on the sirens previously and questioned why they were still in disrepair.

“I did some research in that area, and for the two years prior to us taking office, there was at least $45,000 budgeted and spent on repairs. Obviously, they’re not working,” said chairman Billy Luster.

Aderholt added, “I just want to share with citizens that when this commission spends $45,000 on sirens, we’re going to have working sirens.”

In other action, the commission:

•entered into an agreement with the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham for a parks and open space study. The purpose of the study is to identify existing recreation facilities and identify future recreational opportunities.

The cost of the project is $67,461 with a local match of $13,492. The Walker Area Community Foundation and United Way of Central Alabama will be providing the match.

Aderholt asked to table the matter to allow more time for review by commissioners. The motion died, and a motion to accept the agreement passed 3-1. Aderholt cast the dissenting vote.

•accepted an agreement for a $50,000 Homeland Security grant that will benefit the Cordova Police Department. No match is required by the county.

•reappointed Hezikiah Walker to the Housing Authority of Walker County.

•voted to cancel the meeting scheduled for March 3 because commissioners will be at a week-long legislative conference. The next meeting will be on March 17.

•learned that site preparations have begun on at least six of the 21 community storm shelters that are set to be constructed in the county.

•approved a bid for milled asphalt.

•approved a bid of J&G Culverts Inc. in Fayette for corrugated metal pipe and HDPE pipe.

•presented Regina Myers and Tommy Davis with employee appreciation awards for their efforts during the recent snowstorms.