All members present of the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted on Monday, July 17, 2023, to table action on bids for the County Outdoor Warning Siren System. They appointed a committee to review the bids, including County Manager Randy Lane, E-911 Director Lamar Ray, County Emergency Management Agency Director Johnny West, and County Commissioner Audie Rowe.
Commissioner Rowe made a motion on tabling the bids and forming the committee. Commissioner Jeff Lane seconded the motion. They and County Commission Chairwoman Debra Robinson-McKenney (present by video conference) voted in favor, so the motion carried 3-0. (Commissioners Guy Daughtrey and Lindsey Parrish were unable to attend the meeting.)
The committee will bring their recommendation for accepting a bid back to the full County Commission.
During the County Commission’s work session prior to the regular session on July 17, the Commissioners opened the sealed bids, which were due by Friday, July 14.
Commissioner Rowe announced the total bid amounts as they were opened:
• ASC Mass Notifications Systems, $448,734.
• Sirens for Cities, $394,508.08.
• Federal Signal, $385,687.10.
• Mobile Communications America, $374,065.
• HQE Systems Inc., $425,234.22.
• ATI (Acoustic Technology Inc.) Systems, $266,890.09.
Cook County has been awarded a Hazard Mitigation Grant approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and issued at the state level by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) for the installation of 13 emergency warning sirens. In an effort to meet a portion of the local match, the Cook County Board of Commissioners requested the City of Adel to supply and install the 13 poles required for the installation of the sirens. The City of Adel will be receiving four of the sirens to be placed in the city limits. In March, the Adel City Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of utility poles on which the sirens will be placed.
County Manager Lane said he will review all the bids to make sure the cost of utility poles has not been included, since the City will be providing them.
A representative of a company bidding on the siren system was present at the County Commission meeting. He said their bid doesn’t include the cost of poles. He added that Class 1 55-foot poles would be needed for the sirens they plan to set up.
Tornadoes have slammed Cook County in recent years, causing seven deaths in January 2017, damaging homes and businesses in April 2020, and again impacting about two dozen homes in January 2023, six years to the day of the deadliest natural disaster in local history.
Local leaders have responded by seeking to add another method of early warning for citizens: Several emergency sirens that will be installed throughout the community.
Also during the Monday, July 17, 2023, regular session of the Cook County Board of Commissioners:
Budget 2023-2024 discussion and date for millage rate public hearing
County Administrator Faye Hughes said figures are not yet back from the Tax Assessors’ Office and Tax Commissioner’s Office on what anticipated tax revenues will be. The County did a re-evaluation on real property last year and a re-evaluation on agricultural property this year. The County may go up as far as tax revenue projections are concerned once property evaluations are returned, Mrs. Hughes has told the Commissioners.
“Due to the change in agricultural evaluations, we will have to hold a third public hearing to set the tax millage,” she said. She added that the required public hearing is a technicality due to the “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” legislation.
The Board agreed to hold the public hearing at 10 a.m. Aug. 21 at the County Commissioners’ Meeting Room and to advertise the public hearing.
Cook County Board of Commissioners’ 2024 holidays
Commissioner Lane made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Rowe, to approve 13 County holidays beginning in 2024, including Juneteenth. All Commissioners voted in favor (3-0). The County will begin observing Juneteenth, a federal holiday, starting June 19, 2024.
EDITOR’S NOTE – Look for more County Commission news in next week’s issue.