Monday, May 17, 2010

May 18th Council Meeting Commentary

The Common Council will hold their next meeting this Tuesday, May 18th, beginning at 7:30 PM (view full agenda here). One specific item to note would be Agenda Item #4.b. - Emergency Telephone Notification System.

City staff are recommending that the City Council approve an agreement with a company called Global Connect to create an emergency telephone notification system. Some of you may have experienced a system like this which the Milton Area School District uses when they make calls to notify parents that schools are being closed. In the City's case, we would use the system to notify residents of boil water orders, evacuations due to chemical or gas leaks, lost child alerts, etc.

The system is also interactive. For example, often a serious wind or snow storm can bring down quite a few branches around the City. We could make a call using this system to tell residents when crews will be by to collect branches. In addition, we could ask the resident to "press one" if they have branches available for pickup. The City then receives a report listing all of the properties which need branch collection.

You may wonder how the phone numbers would be entered into the system? The City would receive the numbers through Rock County's 9-1-1 system. Those with cell phones will be able to add their cell phones to the calling system by following on-line instructions on the City's website.

You may also wonder what a system like this will cost the City. Actually, it's surprisingly affordable web-based technology. Our first 12 months would cost $1,117, and the following two years would be $1,340/year. From a staff perspective, we believe this is a small price to pay for the potential benefits this system could offer in emergency situations.

As always, the full Council meeting packet can be viewed on the City's website at