O'Fallon Progress

Shiloh explores options for emergency alert systems

Shiloh Interim Police Chief Gary McGill listens on during the Nixle emergency and community notification system powerpoint conference call presentation Monday, June 26 during the village board committee at large meeting. He and John Marquart, village administrator, teamed up to investigate and determine two viable options to explore for trustees: Nixle and Code Red.
Shiloh Interim Police Chief Gary McGill listens on during the Nixle emergency and community notification system powerpoint conference call presentation Monday, June 26 during the village board committee at large meeting. He and John Marquart, village administrator, teamed up to investigate and determine two viable options to explore for trustees: Nixle and Code Red. rkirsch@bnd.com

Shiloh village officials want to implement an emergency and community alert notification system. Trustees only need decide a company — Nixle or CodeRED.

Shiloh Interim Police Chief Gary McGill said that, with the recent 911 emergency dispatch call center consolidation with O’Fallon and Fairview Heights, Shiloh is one of the last remaining municipalities in the metro-east to not utilize a notification alert system, which operates like a reverse 911.

“We are the only one who doesn’t have one, and with the dispatch consolidation, we’re kind of being encouraged to get something,” McGill said.

Nixle pricing is based on population. Shiloh has 13,000 people, making the annual cost of the product $5,000 with a $500 one-time, set-up fee. The company has a population cap of 20,000. Lindsay Rogers, a Nixle representative from San Francisco, said during her Power Point conference call presentation that the price would increase to $6,000 annually if Shiloh reaches the cap.

Through Nixle, Shiloh would have access to unlimited messages via voice, SMS, email and social media; unlimited agency users; five keywords for easy group opt-in; mobile-publishing smart phone application; automated weather alerts via SMS and email; and Google integration.

“What makes Nixle unique is how we get our residents into the system … We make it really easy for residents to sign up with online pages, but also through a text message through a couple of different ways,” Rogers said.

CodeRED pricing is based on minutes and usage, not population. For $4,429 annual fee the company provides for 15,000 minutes of voice messages; unlimited text, email, mobile app and social media notifications; access to a national database; two-way messaging for text, email and phone notifications; and the free CodeRED mobile application.

For $6,639 annually, the village could buy a full, unlimited system with CodeRED.

McGill noted to the board that he is leaning more toward Nixle. Cost is one reason, but he said Nixle offers three levels of types of alerts, compared to two for CodeRED, and he liked Nixle’s user sign up and opt-in and opt-out options better.

With Nixle, customers build their own database from scratch, where as with CodeRED customers start with a database generated by all sorts of purchased national data, like the white pages.

Launched in 2007, Nixle is used by more than 8,000 public safety agencies, schools, hospitals and businesses including many Midwest customers, including St. Louis County municipalities, and a “big presence in Missouri and Indiana,” Rogers said.

With OnSolve as its parent company with more than 20 years in the industry one of its popular products is CodeRED, which is used by other area agencies like O’Fallon, Highland, Belleville, Swansea, Mascoutah, Lebanon, Dupo, American Illinois Water company, Madison and Bond counties, along with reaching 80 million U.S. households.

“We own everything. We operate everything, control it, monitor it. We’re not just relying on a third-party for your notifications to be set,” Brian Choyka, CodeRED representative, said.

Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier said he likes CodeRED, because of its larger database that has been built with national data the company has purchased and accrued over time.

“It’s amazing what you can do with the system. Plus, even though it is slightly more expensive, there is a reason, and I’m betting it’s a good one why so many of our neighbors have signed on with CodeRED and not its competitors,” Vernier said.

Other business

Trash contracts

Trustees also discussed at length several options for moving forward with evaluating the best valued options for residential trash, yard waste and recycling pick-up with its current provider, Republic Services, or switching to Waste Management as a partner with O’Fallon.

Divided on which options would be best for Shiloh residents and their wallets, Vernier voiced his affinity toward the possibility of teaming up with O’Fallon on a new Waste Management.

“It could save our residents money,” he said.

The board requested John Marquart, village administrator, return to the drawing board for a detailed outline of options with the two companies to make a more well-informed decision down the line when the Republic Services contract expires in October.

Currently, village residents pay $10.78 monthly for trash pick-up. Weekly yard waste pick-up is an optional service totaling $10.77, monthly. Recycling is also optional for $4.04 per month, which Vernier thinks should be mandatory despite trustees’ voiced opposition to forcing residents into a service.

O’Fallon’s monthly Waste Management costs is $21.55 including trash, recycling, yard waste and large item pick-ups and, seniors receive a $3.10 discount.

Where to put a police station?

The board decided to table another agenda item concerning an updated proposal from FGM Architects on updating the 2008 space needs analysis for the police station and village hall.

Trustee Greg O’Neil was the first to question why this item had come before the board again, when it was turned down months earlier due to not having a definite location in mind for where the buildings would go.

Vernier and Marquart both talked of an approximate 6-acre parcel owned by the village near Three Springs Park and the Shiloh Springs development that is currently owned by Dierbergs.

“We were hoping to do a land swap — if we are legally able to and all parties agree — which we were told before they might consider it, if we have a detailed proposal package together,” Vernier said.

The alert notification system, trash contract and space needs analysis agenda items were all tabled until the next committee at large meeting slated for 7 p.m. Monday, July 24.

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