Townships, county partner to buy siren

By Curtis Wildfong • Last Updated 10:17 am on Thursday, January 09, 2014

Montcalm Township Supervisor Michael Adams presents a plan for the purchase of three sirens to be used by the township to alert residents of inclement weather. The township is purchasing two of the sirens and splitting the cost of the third with Eureka Township. Montcalm Township Treasurer Rosemary Hyde listens on to the presentation. — Daily News/Curtis Wildfong

MONTCALM TOWNSHIP — Sometimes patience pays off …  quite literally.

In November, Montcalm Township officials approved the $10,900 purchase of a siren at a discounted price, but told themselves they would look into additional funding and more potential savings to purchase additional sirens in the future.

In the joking words of Supervisor Michael Adams, “the future is now.”

On Wednesday, the board purchaed three sirens. The cost of one of the sirens will be split with Eureka Township, whose residents will be within range of one of the warning sirens.

New sirens cost approximately $20,000, but Adams said the township was able to get them at less than half the cost because they were refurbished from a company which obtained them through a trade-in from a nuclear plant in Indiana.

But Adams learned that the township could get an even better deal if it purchased three or more sirens, each costing $9,800. So the search for funds or potential partners began.

Montcalm Township was approved for a $7,740 grant from Montcalm County and partnered with Eureka Township on sharing in the cost of a third. Eureka Township, if it approves the purchase,  would pay just over $3,600 for its portion.

For the three sirens, which brand new would cost $57,300, Montcalm Township has dedicated just $18,050 of its funds.

“It’s almost too good of a deal to pass up,” Adams said.

The sirens, which are several-hundred pound devices to be installed on poles, have a 2-mile radius and once installed will cover a vast majority of those who live in Montcalm Township.

“It’s pretty good coverage. I’m excited,” Adams said. “To get three is pretty monumental.”

Because of the additional cash from the grant, the devices can be set off by Montcalm County Central Dispatch.

“The grant money from the county is paying for all the narrowband and radio communication equipment that will go on the siren to allow Central Dispatch to set them off from their location,” Adams said

The three proposed locations for the sirens are at the township hall, on South Johnson Road near the Carl Paepke Nature Trail and on Wise Road near Johnson and Youngman roads.

The savings helped make the project possible, which Adams said is vital for residents.

“It’s important to have those sirens in the community,” he said.

Without the savings, Adams said the township may not have been able to move forward with the purchase, because it was not included in the budget.

But with a few things under budget this year and some fiscal responsibility by the township, Adams said, the township has the funds.

“The $18,000 budgeted in this year for the sirens because we had no idea that we would stumble on something so good,” Adams said. “We did have extra money in the budget I set aside for emergency or pop-up situations like this.”

The township will move forward with ordering the sirens, which will be installed by the company selling them. It shouldn’t be long until they are put to use.

“I would assume we’ll see these go up in February or March at the latest and will be in use by the spring storms,” Adams said.

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