August sounds the alarm on siren upgrades at council meeting

Authored by Jim Langham on Mar 28, 2012

Adams County Emergency Management director John August told Berne City Council on Monday evening that due to new requirements from the federal government concerning narrow banding of the county emergency sirens, upgrades are in the near future.
"This is something we need to focus on doing," August told council. "Sherriff Rekeweg wants to get ahead of the curve. We would like to do this within the next month or so."
Fortunately, said August, anticipated grant money for the project will cut the cost in half. The total cost of updating Berne's three sirens would be $4,384.43 at face value. Of that amount, the county had agreed to pay $2,922.94 and the city would have been required to pay the remaining $1,461.49 in charges, a two-thirds/one-third arrangement.
However, the anticipated funding will cut the total cost down to $2,192.22, explained August. Of that amount, the county will pay $1,496.47 and Berne's share will be reduced to $730.75.
August said that the total cost county-wide is $39,000.
"If we do not do this by the end of next year, the government can come in and levy some pretty stiff fines on us," said August. "That's why the sheriff is so intent on taking advantage of every financial break we can take to get this done as soon as we can.
"I really want to commend our head dispatcher Bill Grimm for alerting us of this," added August.
Council passed legislation approving the installation and allotting of the city funding required in order to accomplish the upgrade.
In addition, police chief Tim Taylor approached council about the purchase of a new police vehicle in 2013. Taylor brought bids that were opened for the purchase of a Ford SUV, including installation of lights and radio equipment necessary for police operation of the vehicle. Taylor likes the SUV purchase because of four-wheel drive that would aid officers in winter weather.
Bids included $26,233 from Courtesy Motors, $31,000 from the state, and $25,980 from Moser Motors.
Council spent time discussing the matter of ordering the vehicle at a time that would bring about an early 2013 purchase and implementation. The panel also discussed matters of escalating prices if further bids are required at a later day.
The legislative body tabled discussion while Taylor has the opportunity to gain some more information before taking a final legislative stand on the matter.
In other matters, council:
- passed emergency legislation to establish a stop sign on Rose Lane at the intersection of Rose Lane and Dearborn Street.
- discussed repairs that are currently being undertaken at the Berne Senior Center, with the need for updated wiring and roof repairs.
- heard a report from Mayor Bill McKean that he plans to meet with officials from Umbaugh and Associates next week concerning a water rate study.
- heard a report from Berne City Attorney James Beitler concerning the year-end deadline to establish guidelines for city council districts as a result of the 2010 census. Beitler said consideration of redistricting is required every 10 years, but that the current arrangement has been in place since 1950 when census figures elevated Berne from a town to city status. Beitler stressed that while city officials won't be required to act on the matter until the end of the year, council members should start giving serious consideration to the matter.

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