Village Testing Storm Siren Tuesday Morning as Officials Consider Whether to Repair or Replace

By Jeremy Coumbes on December 11, 2023 at 5:48pm

The Village of South Jacksonville is notifying the public that testing of the storm siren located at West Belmont and Vandalia near the water tower will occur on Tuesday, December 12th at 9:00 am. The Village is currently looking at options for what to do with the siren that has become unreliable.

South Jacksonville Chief of Police Eric Hansel updated the Board of Trustees last week on the status of ongoing repair that has been needed on the storm siren near the water tower on West Vandalia Road.

He told the board Thursday night that ongoing problems with the siren have become more frequent over the last year. He said it was almost a surprise that it went off last week during the regular test that happens on the first Tuesday of each month.

Discussion was had among Hansel and the board on what course of action to take because a storm siren is something the village cannot do without. “We’re still working with the vendor to try and get it repaired and at least keep it working until we can get it replaced or it can be indeterminately repaired.

We’re also looking at bids and trying to make the best decision for the village money-wise on which is going to be better. Can we keep this going and is it worth keeping it going, or do we need to retool and replace it?”

The Village of South Jacksonville is currently covered by three emergency storm sirens, one at the maintenance garage on Hardin Avenue, the one next to the water tower, and the newest unit which is located at the Love’s Truck Stop.

Hansel says he has been told by the current service company that parts are becoming harder to find for the aging storm siren unit. “It’s an older siren, I don’t know what the exact age is on it. But we’ve been having issues with getting parts and it just not working reliably. So we’re at the stage of trying to find a vendor that can totally repair it and it be within a budget that we are okay with, or we just need to look at replacing it.

It’s been worked on I would say for the last two and a half years. We’ve had the ground wire replaced, and we’ve had relays replaced in it. It’s ran for forty-five minutes straight and not shut off like it should. So it’s kind of like an older car that is starting to nickel and dime us and become unreliable.”

Hansel told the board of trustees that so far he has received bids from two different companies for fully replacing the siren, one with a local company for just over $36,000, and one from a company out of Missouri at a cost of $21,700.

After continued discussion, the board agreed that Hansel should continue the pursuit of repair and replacement options to present to the board at their next regular meeting, citing the urgent need highlighted by the storms that caused safety concerns and major damage in the village in recent years.