“This is a pet project of mine,” Bee County Emergency Management Coordinator David Morgan told the City Council Tuesday night, Oct. 12.
He said there are several companies offering the equipment and software necessary to implement new warning systems.
Morgan said that the current emergency warning system in place is a siren in the downtown area. But not everyone in the city can hear the siren and most people have no idea what the siren signals mean.
“We really have no effective way to warn our residents of an emergency,” Morgan to the council.
With a better system, the city could notify residents in certain neighborhoods of water and power outages.
He said another concern is that many people no longer have home phones. A growing number of Beeville and Bee County residents use only cellular telephones. And the new emergency systems being offered allow emergency services to be able to send messages to those cellular numbers.
“We need something,” Morgan told the council. He recommended that the city get with the county government to decide how to improve emergency communications in the near future so that planning can begin on installing an upgraded system.
“There are financial advantages to having a city-county system,” Morgan said.
He told council members that the systems can be leased for annual payments of only $20,000.
Council members were unable to take action on the recommendation because Morgan was only making a presentation. City staff members are expected to talk to county officials at a later date to determine which communications service to contact for a system here.
Police Chief Joe Treviño and Assistant Fire Chief Lanny Holland were at the meeting and they said they had been looking into the possibility of installing the same kind of systems being recommended by Morgan.
In other business, the council voted to:
— Grant a street closing request for the 100 block of North Adams Street from 4 until 10 p.m. on Oct. 30 for a Halloween Carnival at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church.
— Deny an appeal of a recent Housing Standards Board decision to order the demolition of a substandard home in the 300 block of South Minnesota Street.
— Have the Parks and Recreation Commission review a request from Coastal Bend College for improvements to the girls softball field at Veterans Memorial Park.
— Purchase one dump truck and two Dodge vehicles that were approved in the last fiscal year.
Council members also discussed the need for a new communications tower for radio service for the police department, emergency medical service and Beeville Volunteer Fire Department.
City Manager Tom Ginter told the council that seal coating on some city streets was scheduled to begin as early as next week.
Before adjourning, Ginter said that he would recommend against a contract between the city and Beeville Water Supply District. Instead, he urged the council to consider giving the district $120,000 a year on an annual basis to help fund a maintenance fund for the district’s water treatment plant and pipeline from Swinney Switch to the city.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.