Jefferson Co. Commission to vote on tornado siren cost

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Thursday the Jefferson County Commission will vote on a plan to split the cost of tornado sirens with area cities.

Commissioners said there are different ways to getting tornado warnings, from TV, weather apps or weather radios. But county officials are not willing to give up on an outdoor warning system to get people out of danger with a weather threat.

Today Jefferson County Commissioners got an update on the problem. It cost Jefferson County EMA about $100,000 a year to maintain some 254 sirens in the county. It's another $100,000 for repair and replacement costs.

Commissioners will vote on a plan where cities will pay $400 to maintain each siren in their community, while the county will pay for repair and replacement costs.

"I think the cost to cities verses the benefits they are going to reap for having a siren in their city, warning for their people, is a no brainer." Joe Knight, Jefferson County Commissioner said.

A meeting is set Thursday to meet with Jefferson County cities about the split.  Knight said if cities have problems covering the cost they will address them.

Under the compromise plan Jefferson County EMA will  oversee all the sirens and issue the warnings.

The EMA is looking to upgrade the tornado siren system so warnings can be issues in targeted areas and not countywide.

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