Rhome City Council approves bid for storm warning sirens

By Racey Burden | Published Saturday, March 10, 2018
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Five months after they first authorized Mayor Michelle Pittman di Credico to put out a bid package for storm warning sirens, Rhome City Council has approved a bid.

The city struggled to find a company with a bid that satisfied both its coverage requirements and price range. The council decided on a bid in January, only to later put the siren project up for re-bid that same month.

At Thursday’s meeting, council member Kenny Crenshaw threw his support behind a $46,000 bid from Storm Sirens Inc. That bid was for three, omni-directional sirens with battery back-up.

“You get a seven-year warranty,” Crenshaw said. “It’s under budget, and you get more coverage area.”

Council member Elaine Priest asked if that proposal met the criteria for the bid established by the city. di Credico said Storm Sirens Inc. focused their proposal more on coverage area and price, departing from the bid specifications.

Another vendor, SafetyCom, submitted a bid that exceeded the city’s $50,000 budget. Priest said she felt their bid was preferable and would fall under budget if they asked SafetyCom to remove one encoder from the bid. SafetyCom’s bid included two rotating sirens and one omni-directional siren.

“The rotating ones, according to the research I’ve done, have a far greater output than directional,” Priest said. “They’re the least affected by wind and ambient noise.

“So with that in mind, if we took off one of the encoders … then that reduces that price to $49,831.”

Encoders allow on-duty emergency personnel to set the sirens off from a set location.

Fire Chief Darrell Fitch said if the city only had one, it would be at the fire department.

“If we had two, we’d probably have one at the fire department and one at the police department, but the police department is not staffed all the time,” Police Chief Sam Love said. “If we have one officer on duty and he’s in and out of the office, he’d have to come to the office and activate it. Whereas the fire department has multiple people that are going to be coming to the fire department anyway in an emergency. If you’re going to have one, that would be the place to have it.”

Priest said SafetyCom had more to offer if they could be brought under budget. She made a motion to accept SafetyCom’s bid without the second encoder, which Crenshaw amended to accept the bid without the second encoder or with it, if SafetyCom would lower its price to under $50,000. The council unanimously approved that motion.

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