Delaware County commissioners heard a request Monday to put two levies on the ballot to fund a countywide outdoor warning system of 46 sirens.

Delaware County commissioners heard a request Monday to put two levies on the ballot to fund a countywide outdoor warning system of 46 sirens.

A committee including employees of the county Emergency Management Agency, township trustees and residents presented the recommendation and a report to the commissioners.

Brian Galligher, the county's emergency management director, told the commissioners the siren system would cost about $1.5-million.

The funds could be raised through a voter-approved 0.25-mill, one-year ballot issue, Galligher said. It would cost a homeowner $7.65 annually for each $100,000 of assessed valuation, he said.

The committee also recommended a 0.05 mill, two-year ballot issue to maintain the system. It would raise about $300,000 and cost a property owner $5.33 annually for each $100,000 of assessed valuation.

Each siren can cost about $500 a year to service, Galligher said.

Every five years the sirens' batteries need to be replaced, a systemwide cost of about $20,000, he said.

EMA staff members have identified a number of tentative siren sites - mainly fire departments, police departments, township halls and other public areas - that would ensure countywide coverage with as few sirens as possible, Galligher said.

Orange Township trustee Jim Agan spoke in support of the system.

"The whole idea of the sirens is to protect the people who are outside when things happen," Agan said. "We have large parks and neighborhood parks in the county. The reverse call and weather radio can't get to them."

The county currently has a reverse 911 calling system that telephones residents when there are severe weather warnings. Commissioners earlier said that system provides protection for the public without the cost of sirens.

Liberty Township trustee Peggy Guzzo also supported the siren plan.

"The cost has significantly reduced from what we originally thought," Guzzo said. "Instead of $3-million, it's about $1.5-million to put all sirens through the whole county and a two-year levy for maintenance.

"This is a safety issue," Guzzo said. "The reverse 911 is a good option, but it's not the complete answer. This will help complete that system and make sure people are adequately notified."

Berlin Township trustee Phil Panzarella said the system would protect residents and visitors to Alum Creek State Park "who come spending a considerable amount of money here."

The commissioners thanked the committee for the extensive work it had done on the report.

"This board has collectively said we want a total and complete system that involves outdoor, reverse 911 and weather radio," county commissioner Glenn Evans said. "Financing is always a concern in the question. ... This (report) is a format that we can take some sense of direction on."

Commissioner Kris Jordan said they would review the report and would likely have further public comment on it.

Commissioner Jim Ward said he didn't like the idea of increasing taxes and wanted to know what the townships were planning to contribute financially.

"I think taxpayers are paying too much already. Another levy (means) just more taxes," Ward said. "I don't see the county taking it on all by themselves without townships putting resources on it if the levy were to fail."

Guzzo said it would be better orchestrated at a county level.

"If it's done as township rather than county you could have holes in the system if townships didn't want to pay," Guzzo said. "A complete and holistic approach would be to have it funded by one source."