The Delaware County commissioners on Aug. 21 declined to authorize a countywide warning siren levy for Nov. 4.

The Delaware County commissioners on Aug. 21 declined to authorize a countywide warning siren levy for Nov. 4.

Aug. 21 also was the filing deadline for the election.

A committee including employees of the county Emergency Management Agency, township trustees and residents studied the idea and in July asked the county to fund the installation of 46 sirens with a ballot issue.

Orange Township Trustee Jim Agan said he was disappointed and plans to continue the discussion with the new commissioners who will be elected in November. Commissioners Glenn Evans and Jim Ward were defeated in the spring Republican primary. Commissioner Kris Jordan would be replaced if he wins his race for state representative.

"I'm disappointed they didn't act," Agan said. "I'm going to push it once we have three new commissioners."

Liberty Township Trustee Peggy Guzzo also plans to work with the coming commissioners.

"In a collaborative effort over a two-year period among many Delaware County township trustees and fire and EMS personnel, we put together a comprehensive plan which details the necessity for outdoor emergency sirens for the safety of all of our citizens," Guzzo said in an e-mail. "This current board of county commissioners did not see fit to take this important issue to the voters. We will resubmit our plan to the new commissioners in the beginning of 2009."

The committee had suggested placing two levies on the ballot. A 0.25-mill, one-year ballot issue - that would cost a homeowner $7.65 annually for each $100,000 of assessed valuation - would build the system.

The sirens would be maintained by a 0.05-mill, two-year ballot issue that would raise about $300,000 and cost a homeowner $1.50 annually for each $100,000 of assessed valuation.

Evans said the board supports the idea of an outdoor warning system, but lacked the necessary details to place it on the ballot.

"There are too many unanswered questions," Evans said. "We've had passionate pleas supporting it, but you can't put something on the ballot unless we have stringent facts."

Evans explained some of the questions that still need to be answered:

• What happens if one of the levies fails?

• Where would the exact siren locations be? A capital levy by statute must have a development plan, he said, adding that they were presented with tentative locations.

• Could the county afford to bond the system given its other projects such as a new court house and emergency station?

The board had asked such bond-related questions of county Prosecutor Dave Yost, and the county's bonding legal counsel. Evans said the board had not yet received answers, to his knowledge.

"The supporters and I agree that it should be on the ballot and let voters decide, but I have a statutory obligation to have factual hard½ numbers to look at."

Evans said the county has taken some measures to warn residents of hazards.

They include using a Homeland Security grant to buy weather radios for various county schools, nursing homes and other agencies and implementing a reverse 911 calling system.

While the sirens are traditionally used to warn of severe weather, county EMA director Brian Galligher said they could be used to warn of hazardous material spills, trouble at a dam or a terrorist attack.

"The key is to get people to go inside, turn on the TV and find out the details and what they need to do next," Galligher said. The county's reverse 911 call system also would provide people with needed information, he said.

Residents can sign up for the reverse call system by visiting and selecting the link to "Code Red."