Residents not happy with siren locations

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Number, location of emergency sirens concern some, magistrate tells fiscal court

By Calen McKinney

After constituents complained that 18 might not be enough, and they might not be placed where all residents can hear them, magistrates might soon reconsider where new emergency sirens might be placed in the county.

Last month, Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers said officials from Lake Cumberland Area Development District have recommended that 18 sirens be installed to help warn residents during emergency situations. He said GPS coordinates and population data were used to map where the sirens would be placed.

The proposed 18 sites include Spurlington Church, Old Mannsville School, two in Acton, White Ridge, two at Lone Valley Road near Green River Lake State Park, Hatcher Road, Spears Road, Saloma, State Highway Department, Old Pitman Road, Old Greensburg Road, Reids Chapel Road, Reynolds Road, County Park Road, Spring Meadow Circle and Heartland & Commerce Technology Park.

With the addition of the 18 sirens, there would be a total of 19 in the county, with one being the siren the city operates now.

At Tuesday's regular meeting of the Taylor County Fiscal Court, Magistrate James Jones said he has received several phone calls from residents who are opposed to the locations of the sirens, saying they don't believe they will cover the entire county.

Jones said he believes if the 18 sirens aren't enough, magistrates should look at the cost of installing more.

As such, Jones made a motion to either reconfigure the proposed locations of the new sirens so the entire county will be covered with an emergency warning system or have a committee research the feasibility of adding sirens to the map.

He also asked that the issue be discussed at the Court's next regular meeting, set for Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 6 p.m. at the Taylor County Courthouse. The meeting is open to the public.

"I come at the request of my constituents," he said.

Magistrate Ed Gorin seconded the motion.

Jones said those he talked to are upset there is only one proposed siren in his district, to be installed in the Saloma area.

Magistrate Matt Pendleton asked if the motion is for the county to install all the proposed sirens or just get bids for them. Jones said he only wants to look at the placement of the sirens and get an estimate as to what it will cost to make sure the entire county is covered should an emergency arrive.

"It won't hurt to get a bid," Pendleton said.

Magistrate Tommy Corbin said some people won't sign up for phone emergency warning systems, so sirens might be best to warn residents.

Rogers said he will research the issue and report back to magistrates next month. There was no vote taken on Jones' motion.

In July, magistrates agreed to apply for a Homeland Security grant to help pay for the cost of the sirens. Rogers said he hasn't heard yet as to whether the county will receive the grant.

He said last month that if the county gets the grant, it could be able to install all of the proposed 18 sirens.

Last month, Rogers said magistrates agreed in July to install eight new sirens, regardless of whether the county is awarded a grant to help with the cost. Last month, Rogers said eight sirens would cost $183,200.

A.J. Johnson and George Wilson, former Campbellsville Fire & Rescue chief, and current Taylor County Fire & Rescue chief and the county's emergency management director, respectively, helped generate some information to apply for the grant.

Wilson said earlier this year that the city's weather siren allows its residents to be notified about severe weather, but those who live outside the city limits might not be able to hear it.

According to information from David Rowland of LCADD, the average range of the outdoor sirens is 1.2 miles.


Also at the Meeting:

• Team Taylor County Executive Director Ron McMahan said several announcements are in the works that will bring jobs to Taylor County.

McMahan said a small company based in California is looking to locate in Taylor County and is in final negotiations on a location. Eight jobs will be created, he said, and an announcement is expected in a few weeks.

McMahan said an existing company is planning a $3.5 million expansion that will add 20 to 25 jobs. And another company is planning a $780,000 expansion that will provide eight to 10 more jobs.

He said a food retail business is also looking to locate in Campbellsville and is hoping to finalize its plans soon.

McMahan said he recently sent demographic information about the community to another company and three potential retail businesses have asked about available space in Taylor County.

"It's always good when outside money is looking to invest in your community."

McMahan said INFAC's grand opening celebration at its new location the Heartland Commerce & Technology Park will be Sept. 27.

He said inmates have been use to mow the HCTP and have prevented him from asking the city and county for money to pay that cost. McMahan said would cost about $200 each time to mow the nearly 4 acres of land.

For more from Tuesday's meeting, see Monday's issue.