Winamac Town Council Approves Request to Purchase Public Alert Service

Utility customers in the Town of Winamac will soon have the opportunity to be directly notified of various alerts thanks to a request submitted by 1st Deputy Clerk Kim Burke.

At Monday’s Winamac Town Council meeting, Burke told members about a system called Public Alert which would allow her to individually send members of the community notifications that would impact them specifically.

“We can send out like emergency snow removal when we need them all to park on one side of the street, waterline breaks, if we close down a road. From what I understand, they can rig it up with our billing system.” Burke provided a potential example, “I can go in there and say ‘look, these people on Burson Street, you’re water’s shut off, we have a break’ and I can send them an alert.”

She said this could also be useful for the electric department in case of power outages and the police department for various alerts they may have. The service allows notifications to be sent out by phone call, text message or email and gives people the chance to select their preference.

The cost for the service is normally $1,250 for 8,000 notifications. However, Burke told the council that currently the company is running a special where they can receive double the notifications for the same price. She also added that any unused notifications would carry over into the next year. She proposed that the cost be split between the civil town and the three utility departments.

Burke mentioned that applications for the service could be included with utility bills over the next few months. Town Manager Brad Zellers added that there should be a specification that only customers of the town can sign up so that the allotted notifications will be utilized for people who will be directly affected by them.

Council members voted unanimously to purchase the service. Burke said she would contact Public Alert immediately and predicts that it could be implemented by January of 2018.