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CENTERTOWN, Mo. — The village may seek funds for an emergency warning siren to increase resident safety, officials said.

Board of Trustee President Adam Brown said the need was recognized after the May 22 tornado hit Jefferson City.

At a former firehouse on Broadway Street, a manual fire siren sits on top of what is now a storage shed. The village is not authorized to use the fire siren, and it cannot be used as a tornado siren, Brown said. It was tested and is in fair condition but would not be the most effective if it could be used.

"It's old and would only cover a small area," Brown said. "It would not cover all of Centertown."

The village is investigating if the current siren could be connected to a new system. A new warning siren could include voiced announcements to alert residents of the type of emergency.

At the July trustee meeting, members discussed seeking funds through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, State Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Rural Development.

Brown plans to submit a notice of interest for the siren to the hazardous mitigation grants program through SEMA by the Sept. 16 deadline.

"This is something I feel strongly we need to have," Brown said. "We're trying to go with routes that can work with grants and assistance on it first. If not, we have to look and see what we can do after that."

The village is working with Mid Missouri Regional Planning and the Cole County Emergency Board to assist in its search for funds, Brown said.

The village is also considering seeking funds from a Community Development Block Grant for the village's water tower project. If the village qualifies, CDBG grant funds could also be used for the storm sirens, Brown said.

The challenge for the village is its size, Brown said. A part-time village clerk handles daily business and trustees meet regularly once a month.

"Being a small community with part-time staff (and) the rest of the board being volunteers, and working other jobs, we don't have anybody dedicated to diving into this like the bigger cities do, so we're trying to get what we can," Brown said.

In other business, the board approved the 2019 property tax rate of 7.5 percent at a special meeting Aug. 13.

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