Of the three early warning sirens used to alert residents of Henrietta of a tornado, only one is working, and it only works sometimes, putting the city in bad situation that, in a severe weather situation, could only become worse.
Monday night, the city council discussed options for repairing the warning system.
Money is not the only problem the city faces with the sirens. All three are outdated to the point that the city will only be able to get parts for two.
The city is looking to fix the sirens located at the intersection of Hwy. 82 and Bearcat Lane, on the eastern edge of town, and the siren at the intersection of South Crockett and West South streets. Both are stationary models with multiple trumpets.
The siren located behind Henrietta Junior High, a single-trumpet, rotary model, is beyond repair, said City Administrator Kelley Bloodworth.
The siren at Bearcat Lane was struck by lightning several years ago and has not worked since. The South street siren works intermittently, and sometimes sounds without prompting, as it did for several minutes at 11:15 p.m. March 17.
Also in need of updating, said Bloodworth, is the radio, decoder and timer system used to sound the alarms. The system is located in the dispatch room of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.
The city has received two bids for repairs to the sirens in amounts of $2,750 each and $6,000 each. Bloodworth said the contractor who submitted the lower bid also said he could repair the radio system, which would increase the bid to $3,000 for each siren.
To replace the siren at Henrietta Junior High would cost $23,500, an amount the city does not have at its disposal.
The council approved Bloodworth’s recommendation of accepting the bid of $3,000 for each siren, a total of $6,000. Bloodworth said the repairs might require a budget amendment later in the year due to lagging water revenues.
“I feel like we’ve got to have these two sirens, I mean, It’s tornado season,” said Alderman Mike Roberts.