Berlin will not repair, replace tornado siren; free public Wi-Fi a no-go

The Berlin Community Center is seen Monday evening, Jan. 27, 2020. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

Updated 12-26-20 at 7:03 p.m.

BERLIN, Ala. – At its November meeting, the Berlin Town Council approved a spending plan for its remaining Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funds, including $4,800 to purchase equipment to create public Wi-Fi areas in the town’s lower income areas along County Roads 1612, 1619 and 1620. At its most recent meeting in December, however, the council announced that legal advice led it to abandon the idea, though alternative options were suggested to use the remaining CARES Act money to provide vouchers that would reduce the service cost for some households. Berlin will soon be able to access the Cullman Electric Cooperative’s Sprout Fiber Internet.

Also part of the approved spending plan, the Town supplied cleaning supplies to Fairview, Holly Pond and Welti schools, allotting an additional $1,800 to each school. The council also created care packages of sanitizing supplies and protective equipment for residents of Berlin, the distribution of which was declared a success.

The council voted to repair a drainage box outside of Berlin Hardware & Farm Supply, and also voted in favor of abandoning the outdoor tornado siren at the fire department. The reasons given for the abandonment were that serious damage sustained by the siren’s speakers and other electronics in a lightning strike will be too costly to repair- and replacement is extremely costly- and the council said most residents already have cell phones or weather radios that provide weather alerts. The council also discussed attempting to obtain a grant to supply weather radios to those who do not have them.

Cleaning services provided by Wisner Solutions were discontinued due to CARES Act funds coming to an end, and quotes for the Berlin Farmers’ Market building were gathered. However, the council could not come to an agreement about the building, so the issue was tabled and will be brought up again at a special meeting after the new year.

All Town employees received a $400 Christmas bonus.

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Heather Mann