Emergency siren contract explored

Published 8:40 pm Monday, October 10, 2011

A contract between the Dallas County Commission and Collins Communications could save the county thousands of dollars and ensure all emergency sirens are in working order.

Dallas County Emergency Management Agency director Rhonda Abbott said she has money in her budget to get the ball rolling on an agreement that will have Collins service sirens across the county and split the cost between the county and municipalities.

“I have money in the budget that I plan to offset with getting the city of Valley Grande, Selma and Orrville to reimburse us for sirens,” she said. “Valley Grande has already agreed and I feel like the city of Selma will also and we need  to go ahead and implement that..”

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The agreement, Abbott said, is growing in importance because of the addition of sirens to the county. Tuesday, Abbott said, they again had problems with one of the sirens in the county, this time in Valley Grande.

“Every test I would do from my office had it working, but today they went out there with me testing it from here and it was not working,” she said. “Stuff like that can be prevented with them coming out twice a year and checking all of the reboots and things that need to happen.”

There are two proposals on the table, Abbott said. The first is a $3,000 proposal to check the sirens once a year; the second would check them twice for $5,000. Abbott suggested the $5,000 proposal.

Having the sirens checked annually, Probate Judge Kim Ballard said, could have saved the county thousands of dollars when issues came up in Orrville over the last year. Problems with that particular siren cost the county $9,700.

“Had we had this in place, we would have saved nearly $8,000 or $9,000,” he said. “Collins does 99.9 percent of our work on sirens and we asked them one day in my office if they could come up with a preventative maintenance contract.”

The commission voted unanimously to pursue an agreement.
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