This past Tuesday I spoke at the Common Council meeting relating to Fire Chief James Martins' request for the installation of tornado sirens in the City of Franklin. Being that Franklin is the only community in Milwaukee County that does not have any tornado sirens to warn residents and workers of an impending threat, having these in place would enhance the safety of residents during severe weather.
After the jump are my remarks.
Mayor Taylor and Members of the Council:
I come before you tonight to support the installation of tornado sirens in our community. For far too long, as Franklin boomed in population, our safety from a common threat in the Midwest has been compromised with residents not being able to hear tornado sirens go off when they need to take shelter. It is time that this is remedied so when disaster strikes, our residents will be more prepared.
Some on the council will likely argue that tornado sirens are not the answer, and that they’re simply “too costly”. Being a Franklin resident for over 10 years, I’ve become well aware of our community’s commitment via our residents towards public safety. Our residents have placed public safety at the top of their personal lists time and again, and have fought to maintain the highest standards of such safety. Whether it is police, fire, pedestrian or, in this case, personal, the people of Franklin expect their elected leaders to literally take the lead on public safety.
Therefore I stand with the Chief Martins and the Franklin Fire Department in asking that the council install these sirens in our community. It will not only enhance protection of those in homes during the storm, but also those in office complexes, medical facilities, or those that could be outside waiting out the storm such things as a Little League game or Youth Football practice. Sirens save lives, and that is why 18 out of the 19 municipalities in Milwaukee County have them already installed in their cities and villages.
The council decided, at Alderwoman Kristen Wilhelm's motion, to provide the chief a month to collect more information and bids for the project and give a more thorough presentation to the council at that time. What struck me as strange from the moment I received my council packet (every candidate for office receives council packets to maintain fairness) was the fact that the council didn't receive information from the chief prior to the meeting. All that was given to aldermen was a single page - the action sheet which provided a background and a motion to authorize the spending of up to $150,000 for the sirens. $150,000 was approved by the council for these sirens in the 2010 city budget.
While I'm supportive of tornado sirens in Franklin, I (like the aldermen) would have liked to see some more data on the matter and indication that companies are providing competitive bids. Hopefully prior to when the council meets March 16th the chief will provide information to the aldermen that will be more than the single-page action sheet.