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Mayville Considering Text Alert System

MAYVILLE – After a boil water order was delayed getting out for several hours last month, village officials are considering a new way to contact local residents in an emergency.

During the recent Mayville Village Board meeting, Mayor Ken Shearer proposed a resolution to hire SlickText of Jamestown to notify residents of an emergency via text message. The resolution states it would cost $139 a month and can be canceled at anytime.

“That (cost) is the high end. It would probably be more likely $79 a month, depending on how many times we use it,” he said.

Shearer noted that when a water main break occurred on Aug. 17, the village sent out a request for residents to be notified through NY Alert. The request was made at 2 a.m. but the alert didn’t go out until 9 a.m. after some residents may have already used water to drink or brush their teeth. “It works, but to me seven hours for an emergency is not fast,” he said.

NY Alert guarantees to send out alerts within a 12 hour period. To use it, the village has to contact the county, which in turn contacts NY Alert for a notification to be sent out.

In order for the SlickText alert to work, village residents would need to sign up for the alerts. There would be no cost to sign up. It would not be able to be used on landline devices.

Shearer said if the village board decides to go with the system, they will get the word out on the village’s Facebook page, website and put a notice in the electric bills.

Trustee Sun Ray Harrington questioned the need for the alert system and also wondered how many residents would actually sign up for it. “Most people don’t know how to use NY Alert. Most people aren’t signed up for it,” he said.

He also noted its very rare for the village residents to be notified immediately of a situation.

Shearer said he believes the village board has an obligation to protect its residents. “We’re here to serve the public and not ourselves. If people don’t know how to be signed up to the New York state system, that irrelevant to me,” he said.

Harrington also questioned if this would be cost efficient.

Shearer said he has researched this for several months, even before the water main break and feels this is the best option for the price. He added that Westfield uses this system.

Trustee Antoinette Moore said she wasn’t sure if this was the best option or not. “A lot of people don’t text,” she said.

Harrington proposed tabling the resolution until next month. Moore and Trustee H. Tim Jacobson agreed. Shearer voted against tabling the resolution. Trustee Benjamin Webb was not in attendance.

The resolution will be brought back next month. Shearer said he would show trustees other companies who offer similar notifications and the cost.

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