WARSAW — Trash pick up delays? Gas leak? Concert Update? Missing child?
The city will establish a notification program later this year that can be targeted to specific parts of the city for a wide range of reasons.
The Board of Works and Safety approved plans to contract with CivicPlus, of Manhattan, Kan., for the service. The setup fee and first year of service will cost about $7,500 and the following annual charges will be about $6,500, said Staci Young, assistant to the mayor.
The service allows the city to set up various types of alerts that can be sent out in numerous forms. In fact, the technology would allow the city to send out 12,000 voice calls, 50,000 text messages and 50,000 emails in one minute if needed.
That would be much quicker than preparing a post on Facebook or a news release, Young said.
Much of the program will require residents to register, but they will be able to choose which types of alerts they wish to receive and even choose from between 60 languages.
Young said they talked with officials from several municipalities in other states who are using the system.
The program will be installed within a few months, and the city will then seek participation from residents. Details on registration will come later. “It will be a process to get that built up and we would like for residents to take advantage of it,” Young said.
A key component of the service is the ability to target specific parts of the city.
“We don’t necessarily need the whole entire city to know that there is a gas leak happening on Market Street, but this will allow us to (target) that area that does need to be notified and does need to be evacuated, perchance,” Young said.
City officials want to begin the service for emergency notifications and trash route changes. After that, they will work with department heads to see how they want to use it and slowly start to expand the service, according to Young.
The program will also dovetail with a program through the Federal Emergency Management System for alerts similar to Amber Alerts within a specific area. Use of that service would be limited to major emergencies such as an active shooter. It would allow the city to force a notification to all mobile devices within the area, regardless of whether they have signed up “if it’s in the interest in community safety,” Young said.
The program through FEMA requires approval through the agency and will take longer to implement, Young said.
In other matters:
- The board rejected the lone bid for construction of the North Buffalo Street Plaza because it exceeded the anticipated cost.
The lone bid from R. Yoder Construction, Nappanee, was nearly $2 million. An engineer’s estimate for the work was $1.4 million. Plan Director Jeremy Skinner said he thinks there was confusion in the bid form that drove up the cost. He said the delay could push the project into next year.
The plaza will include sidewalks, a fountain, boardwalk, a deck that extends over Center Lake, a gazebo and seating.
- The board accepted a $5,000 grant that will be used by Bowen Center for promoting its ongoing opioid awareness meetings.
- The board opened a bid for Lucerene Park Amphitheater. The lone bid from Roche Constructors, Warsaw, was for $208,700.
- Three bids were received for the purchase of four Ford Interceptor utility vehicles. Those were from B-Town Ford, Bloomington, for $140,633; Kerlin Ford, Silver Lake, for $140,747 and Rice Ford, Warsaw, for $142,560.
Bids for the trucks and the park project were taken under advisement.