The storm warning siren on Williams Road is 40-something years old, recently quit working and doesn’t have power to it, so the council decided to decommission it.
At least that’s what appeared to be the consensus, and that’s what Police Chief Mark Kearse said he plans to do.
“It’s broken down three times and it costs $2,000 to repair each time,” Kearse said, adding that the siren has again stopped working.
Moreover, he said, Rolla Municipal Utilities is shutting down the power to the well next to the siren for a year, so the siren won’t be powered.
Although RMU is willing to hook up electric and keep the siren powered and ready to go, that would cost $5,000-$6,000, he said.
Kearse said the siren really isn’t needed, and he showed a coverage map to prove it. The coverage circles of the remaining nine sirens cover the city completely, so the Williams Road siren is redundant.
“On Wednesday the sixth, during our normal scheduled monthly test, Lt. (Jim) Macormic stood at that siren location (Williams Road) and listened for other sirens to listen for the overlapping coverage,” he said. “He could hear the siren from Fire Station 2 (Rolla No. 4 sire) clearly. I could also hear the siren from Buehler Park (Rolla No. 3 sire), Highway 72 and Pine Tree (Rolla No. 9 siren) and even the one from the fire training site on Lions Club Drive (Rolla No. 9) only when it rotated towards Williams Road.”
The chief acknowledged that the sirens likely would not be heard from indoors, but Mayor Bill Jenks noted that the purpose of the sirens is to warn people who are outside to take cover.
Kearse listed four options:
• Don’t repair, de-commission. There’s no cost.
• Repair the siren and have RMU convert it to 220-volt, set a pole and transformer for a total cost of about $10,000.
• De-commission for the year that the well will be out of operation, then budget $25,000 for a new siren to replace it.
• De-commission the siren, buy a new one and move it to cemetery property one block away at a cost of $25,000.
No vote was taken, but the council’s comments indicated they wanted Kearse to exercise the first option.