“I tried to explain we really need it (the siren), and they kept saying we don’t have the finances,” said Jackson. “We had over $18,000. We could afford the 25 percent.”
Jackson said the proposal for the siren and generators had been on the agenda for the past six months but the funding had just now became available.
Jackson said a lot of the storms Pace has come from Arkansas and if the city had its own siren, they could notify residents ahead of time.
“It’s a matter of life and death,” said Jackson.
Jackson added that the city had been working in partnership with Bolivar County EMA Director Bill Quinton.
Jackson said Pace also has an upgraded emergency plan that has been approved by Quinton.
“Bolivar County did their part,” said Quinton. “We’re here to assist.”
“Mr. Quinton worked really hard with us the last 12 months,” said Jackson.
“It’s better to be proactive than reactive,” said Quinton. “Levon is very proactive trying to get things done.”
According to the Website for NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, 1,253 tornadoes occur in the United States each year, and Mississippi experiences an average of 43 tornadoes each year.
“It (storm sirens) gives us the opportunity to give them full warning,” said Quinton. “We’d love to have them.”
Of the municipalities that make up Bolivar County, Quinton said Benoit, Shaw, Boyle, Renova, Merigold, Shelby, Alligator and Cleveland already have their own storm sirens.
Quinton said available funding for grants in Mississippi depends on catastrophic events and the previous funds were depleted, but now funds are available for the city to apply again for the siren.
Quinton said he can’t speak of finances, but added the city would have only had to cover 25 percent of the cost.
The proposal to purchase new generators was also shot down by the board.
Jackson said the generators would allow those who live in mobile homes to have a way to remove their sewage in emergency situations.
“We didn’t even get a chance to discuss,” said Jackson.
Jackson said he explained in detail the generators would be mobile.
However, Jackson said the board, “rudely voted no.”
“I’m saddened,” said Jackson.