By Jeff Noble / staff writer
With the severe weather season underway, London City Council got a presentation during its regular Monday on how the city could be better warned.
Two emergency and storm warning systems were discussed during the talk by the city’s Police Chief, Stewart Walker.
One involved using a network of nine warning sirens that was updated by Walker in 2005. Using a map of London, he showed six large-range sirens, each with a radius of two miles. Three “fill-in” smaller sirens, with a one-mile radius, would also be used. Walker said the network would cover the most populated areas of the city, including areas in London’s south end that were annexed in recent years.
He added the sirens were mechanical “tone-only” sirens, which would be remote-controlled at the city’s dispatch center. In addition, they would not come cheap.
“For the large units, the price would be around $35,000-$40,000 a unit, plus the equipment to control them,” Walker mentioned.
He estimated the price for the nine units would total around $360,000, including all the equipment.
Another option was to use a phone or web-connected computer system such as One Call Now, which is being used nationwide, and in the Laurel County Schools. The company’s emergency notification system can issue warnings and emergency information to London residents at anytime and anywhere, as well as be used citywide or be targeted for specific locations.
It was learned at the session that a division of Kentucky Emergency Management, CSEPP (the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program), has offered to pay for One Call Now at $33,000 a year.
Later in the meeting, council members approved a resolution to allow Mayor Troy Rudder to explore replacing the city’s current emergency and storm warning system, to let the city look for grants and money to pay for the upgrades, and seek the Laurel County Fiscal Court to also explore options for a county-wide warning system.
“We’re all on board,” Rudder told council.
Earlier, council members decided to put some 5K runs that were scheduled earlier on hold, until the city can set up a calendar for the runs, parades and other events, in order to avoid scheduling too many at a time.
It came about when four running events were on Monday’s meeting agenda. One was for a 5K run requested by Amy Patton of Orthopedic Research, that wanted to reschedule for this Saturday, May 11. A second one was by Troy House of the Baptist Health Foundation, to be held June 15. A third request, by Katie Dotson for the London-Laurel County Relay for Life, was also put on hold, while a fourth race request by Amy Shae Roberts of the London Utility Commission — a two-mile run on July 27 at 8 a.m. as a benefit for the “Shop With A Cop” program — was scratched.
“Stewart (Police Chief Walker) is stretched putting police to cover these events and is running out of help. We need to hold these until we get a calendar set up,” Rudder noted.
He added the present calendar has gotten full with events, such as “Cruisin’ Downtown” in London and “Thursday Night Live.”
Council member Bobby Joe Phelps said, “I think next year we need to have these scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. … We’ll have to limit businesses and make it for community and non-profit organizations.”
Council member Nancy Vaughn made the motion to put the run requests on hold and re-examine what can be done, to avoid future problems with weekends being filled up by events. The motion was approved.
Among other actions taken at the meeting, the first reading of an ordinance to establish rules and regulations for garbage pickup and disposal in the city was approved. A second reading is expected to be at the next council session in June. In addition, the city signed an agreement to approve a lease agreement with the London-Corbin Airport involving a building on airport property being leased by the DEA, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
The new agreement would allow 1st National Bank of London to loan money to a company operated by Justin Barton, who would lease the building to the DEA, who will pay Barton. Previously, the DEA was paying the airport to lease the building. The agreement was previously approved by the airport’s board and the Corbin City Commission.
Two current board members of the London Utility Commission were re-appointed. Both Frank Cornett and Frank Dalton’s terms were to expire on May 17.