Kokomo’s Best Buy store has begun selling weather radios in partnership with city government. It’s part of the city’s emergency management plan. Kokomo has never had tornado sirens, despite being one of the locations of 1965’s Palm Sunday tornadoes. In proposing the plan, Mayor Greg Goodnight pointed to sirens failing to sound during tests in a number of Indiana communities as a reason to distribute the weather radios. Plus, he said, sirens cost more than the city has to spend.
“That would have been $300,000. That does not include land acquisition or any utility rights with anyone, or the legal work that’s associated with that,” the mayor said. “The costs could have went up closer to half a million dollars or something like that.”
The city is subsidizing the cost of the radios — kicking in $10 per unit, so they cost residents just $6.41. To offer the deal, the city had to draw up a plan ensuring each household would only buy one unit, which Goodnight said means extra documentation is required to make each sale…
“Bring a current utility bill, [customers] sign a waiver that this goes with the household. And we have had to turn away a few people that did not live within city limits.”
Goodnight said that waiver indicates that even if a homeowner moves, the weather radio stays with the building, and not with the purchaser. Through Monday afternoon, the mayor said radios had been sold to about 400 of the city’s 12,000 to 15,000households.