Severe weather notification and towing tops discussion at Trenton Administrative Committee meeting

City of Trenton Website

Discussion dominated last evening’s meeting of the administrative committee to the Trenton City Council. Topics were “reverse 911” and towing company policy.

Councilman Glen Briggs, who’s Grundy County’s Emergency Preparedness Director, explained reverse 911 is a process in which emergency messages or alerts are made via simultaneous phone calls to land-line telephones, and to cell phones that “opt-in.” Such messages can be orally spoken or involve written text converted to audio.

The process is seen as a possible alternative or supplement to the storm warning sirens which some have complained they can’t hear. It’s also pointed out that these are outdoor sirens and were never designed to be heard Indoors.

City Administrative Ron Urton provided two quotes. One is for $3,900 a year from Civic Ready and the other at $5,000 annually from EverBridge. There’s also an $1,100 setup cost. The committee was reminded a projected cost for another storm siren is approximately $20,000. No action was taken by the committee other than to allow Urton to obtain a more exact quote on a “reverse 911 system.”

In addition to providing an automated recording about severe weather threatening the city, the “reverse 911” can be used to make location-specific phone calls such as in the case of a boil water notice, a street closing for repairs, or other possible alerts.

Briggs stated as far as he was concerned, the storm sirens would remain. Trenton currently has three which are routinely tested each Wednesday.

The administrative committee expressed support for current police department policy on the towing of a vehicle, whether it’s been in an accident or needs to be moved for other reasons. With one company going out of business, it leaves Ewing Towing as the only one based in Trenton.

Chief Tommy Wright said he’s had interest from two out of town companies to be on the police list when towing is needed and no preference is shown by the vehicle operator or owner.

The administrative committee and Mayor Nick McHargue advised the chief to request those out of town companies could be considered when and if they locate a tow truck within Trenton, pay property taxes, and obtain a business license.

Wright said one of his concerns in using any out of town towing company would be their response time.

Brad Ewing and two other drivers attended the committee meeting to respond to questions. Ewing said he began his towing business in 2014.