With radio upgrades to two warning sirens on the way, the city of Fenton could save money by having them repaired at the same time. Fire Chief Robert Cairnduff presented the $15,835 proposal to city council at its work session on Monday.
Winter weather in Michigan, and salted roads, are taking a toll on Fenton’s warning sirens, especially the one off Silver Lake Road by the Shell gas station and the siren on Owen Road by the Speedway gas station, Cairnduff said. The metal cabinets on the sirens rusted, and Fenton could get another year out of them, or a few more, but, if the housing rusts all the way through, the equipment inside could go bad, he said.
The new cabinets would be aluminum to prevent rusting, and the $15,835 would also pay for a new $300 antenna for the warning siren on Dauner Road, he said.
West Shore Services will be working on sirens at Silver Lake Road and Owen Road already, to add two-way capability, Cairnduff said. The city received Homeland Security grant money to cover adding two-way capability to two sirens before the end of the year.
It will cost the city extra later to turn the two-way feature on, after all five Fenton weather sirens have it. The city needs the upgrade to meet FCC regulations. When it’s turned on, two-way will allow the dispatcher to send a signal by radio to turn a siren on and receive a report back saying whether the siren went off or not, he said.
City Manager Lynn Markland said Fenton budgeted $10,000 for siren repairs this year. And if the city doesn’t repair the two sirens this year, it would probably need to next year. It could cost Fenton a lot more if the equipment shorts out, he said.
West Shore Services works on sirens in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, and it’s upgrading sirens in Michigan to meet FCC regulations, Cairnduff said.
“Right now, they are doing every weather siren in the state of Michigan,” he said.
And the firm is ordering cabinets by the hundreds, which means Fenton could get a better price for cabinets for the Silver Lake Road and Owen Road sirens, he said.
The difference between the amount budgeted and the cost for the repairs is $6,835.
The fire chief has done well with his budget for the last few years, Markland said.
In addition to the weather sirens at Silver Lake Road, Owen Road and Dauner Road, Fenton has sirens at Ellen Street and State Road, Cairnduff said.