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Grant would pay for siren

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle has been earmarked by the Morgan County Emergency Management Agency to receive a $22,981 FEMA hazard mitigation grant for the purchase of one or possibly two emergency warning sirens, according to Eddie Hicks EMA director. A local match of $6,660 is required to be eligible for the grant.
He said the Morgan County Commission voted to put the sirens out for bids at its last regular meeting.
"We should know what the cost is going to be within two to three weeks. If the city chooses to go with a voice siren with eight recorded messages, like the one currently being used, the grant will purchase one siren. If they go with a non-voice recorded siren, they might be able to buy two," he said.
Hicks said Hartselle qualified for the grant because it has the largest population mass in the county without emergency warning coverage. The city's first such siren was installed on Puckett Road, just off Highway 36, West, about three years ago. The next one probably will be located on Highway 36, East.
Complete emergency warning coverage has been the object of repeated efforts by elected officials to come up with the money needed to buy sirens for the past four years. A community survey in 2001 qualified six separate areas of the city to receive grant assistance based on low to moderate income criteria. However, applications have not been approved for funding. Also, local officials have lobbied the U.S. Congress for the funding needed to complete an emergency warning system for the past three years.
Hicks also reported that the EMA office is seeking a public entity in the county to accept a $33,303 grant for a community emergency shelter. A local match of $11,103 is required and the recipient must build a shelter capable of accommodating from 68 to 98 people.
Mayor Dwight Tankersley said he expects the city council to commit a local match and accept the grant after bids are received.