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The Lawrenceburg City Council voted Monday night to enter into an agreement with the county government to fund a system that can alert residents of pending emergencies.
The reverse 911 system will be funded by tax money the county receives from residents who have landline phones.
The county and city opted for a four-year contract with One Call Now, the same company currently used by Anderson County Schools to notify parents of school closings and other events.
The system will cost $8,801.70 for the first year, which includes a one-time $1,500 set up fee. Years two and three of the contract will cost $7,801.70 and, because the county agreed to the company’s four-year plan, the fourth year of the contract will be free.
The county also has a 90-day opt out clause in the contract.
The system will be primarily operated through the city’s 911 Call Center. The city, however, does not have access to the landline 911, which is maintained by the county.
One Call Now has the ability to make 2,000 phone calls per minute depending on phone line availability. However, the school system has found that 1,000 calls per minute is more likely, said Councilman Steven Rucker, who is also teacher at Anderson County High School.
City Clerk Robbie Hume told the council that all landline numbers, whether they are listed or unlisted, will automatically be programmed into the system.
One Call Now also allows for self enrollment, meaning each household can enter up to five additional phone numbers and up to five e-mail addresses. This means those without landline phones can receive calls on their cell phones and e-mails via computer or cell phones with e-mail access.
Residents can add those numbers and addresses on the company’s website, a link to which will soon appear on both the city and county websites.
Some council members questioned how hearing-impaired community members would be notified. Mayor Edwinna Baker said the city is checking into a text messaging option and the e-mail service will also be available.
During his regular report to the council (and before the vote on the One Call Now agreement), Emergency Management Director Charlie O’Neal urged the members to approve the system.
O’Neal said that when he began his job, his primary goal was to make Lawrenceburg and Anderson County “one of the safest communities in the commonwealth.”
“This would be a great step toward that goal,” O’Neal said. “I totally support it and think it is critical to the safety of our community.”
In other business, O’Neal commended the city and county for a job well done during last month’s ice storm.
“I have never seen such a community of emergency response groups come together and just get the job done,” he said. “They performed admirably.”
O’Neal called the ice storm the most catastrophic event he had seen in his entire career because of the impact it had across the state.
Baker also praised city workers for their effort.
“I want to express my gratitude to everybody who helped during the ice storm,” Baker said, giving a special thanks to the Lawrenceburg Methodist Church for hosting the emergency shelter and the cemetery staff for managing several funerals during the harsh weather. “They are to be commended.”
The council also voted to form a Health Insurance Committee. Baker appointed Councilman Sandy Goodlett as chairman. Councilman Bobby Durr, Public Works Director Larry Hazlett, Baker and Hume will also serve on the committee.
The mayor also corrected an appointment from last month’s meeting. Edwin McKee was appointed to the Ethics Committee and Karen Hawkins was appointed to Planning and Zoning.
—Includes reporting by General Manager Ben Carlson.
E-mail Shannon Mason Brock at firstname.lastname@example.org.