Columbiana council approves purchase of two weather sirens

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Columbiana residents and schoolchildren will receive additional severe storm warnings in the future. And Lewis Field will soon receive new lighting.

In the absence of Councilmember Ouida Mayfield, the council voted 4-1 at its last regular meeting to purchase two additional weather sirens and tones for schools inside the city limits.

The devices will cost $30,000 and be delivered in less than 45 days.

Councilmember Danny Kelley cast the lone &uot;no&uot; vote.

Kelley said he felt it should have been decided where the sirens would go before they were purchased. He also said there were questions that were not answered for him.

With regard to the schools, Kelley said, &uot;I don’t think all the right channels were taken.&uot;

He said the city should have gone through the school system instead of principal to principal.

And in the end, he said, &uot;I’m not sure if we took a responsibility the board of education already had.&uot;

Tim Billingsley is the appointed emergency management coordinator for the mayor’s office, a cabinet level position with the city.

Billingsley said a global positioning system would be used in conjunction with the topography of the land to determine where the best location for weather sirens will be. But he said that decision had to be left to the individual who got the contract once the bid was approved. Billingsley said that way there are &uot;no politics involved&uot; in the location of the sirens. As to going through school principals for weather tone alerts for county schools in the city, Billingsley said he has always worked with the principals who take their directions from the central office.

He stressed, however, no school will be forced to accept anything it doesn’t want.

Billingsley said three years ago, the city purchased weather radios for the schools.

&uot;We have tried to have a relationship with the four county schools in our city.&uot;

He said the tone alerts will operate off the city’s weather siren system and will sound when the city sirens go off.

Elvin Hill Elementary has already begun holding weather drills in connection with city warning tests.

Billingsley said he has never been instructed to go through the school system central office.

&uot;All we’re trying to do is add more protection.&uot;

In other business, the council unanimously approved a bid of $32,741 for new lighting at Lewis Field by Roger Porter of Wilsonville.

Councilmember Tom Seale said the bid came in at less than the $40,000 budgeted for the project.

In another unanimous action, the council approved a Beautification Board proposal to purchase 15 banners for downtown streetlights. At a cost of some $1,163, the banners will be 18-inches-by-3-feet each and will alternately feature the name Columbiana and an image of the old courthouse.

* Approved a Municipal Workers Compensation insurance premium of $37,125 for the policy period covering Feb. 1, 2005, until Jan. 31, 2006.

* Approved the employment of David Franklin Orth as a full-time police officer beginning Jan. 24, at the starting position of Grade X, Step 4. That is the entry-level salary for an officer with APOST Certification.

* Approved mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering services for the Wallace Campbell Community Center at a cost of $2,000 and a proposal by Structural Design Group Inc. for engineering services at the center at a cost of $1,200.

* Approved a $3,660.39 transfer from the General Fund to the Park & Recreation Board Account and a $727.95 transfer from the General Fund to the Library Account.

* Appointed Dr. Stancil Handley and Angela Sutton to the Beautification Board.

The council is expected to vote on the fiscal year 2005 city budget at its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 1.