Douglas County possibly could get seven new tornado warning sirens as part of federal legislation awaiting a final vote in the House and Senate.
A bill approved by a joint negotiating committee agreed to provide $1.15 million in federal money that Kansas communities could use to help buy the warning sirens.
Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., who had sought the money, said the bill should finance 154 siren purchases for at least 91 communities in 34 counties. In particular, the money is aimed at providing two new sirens for Andover, a community that was devastated by a tornado earlier this year.
The money is contained in a spending bill to pay for operations of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs and independent agencies in the 1992 fiscal year. The measure is expected to be passed soon by Congress.
PAULA Phillips, county emergency preparedness coordinator, said both Baldwin and Eudora are eligible for two sirens, while Lecompton is eligible for one siren. One of the remaining two sirens may be located in Lawrence, while the other siren could go to an undesignated area of the county.
"It would definitely be a positive step in increasing our warning and notification capabilities within the county," Phillips said.
Douglas County currently has 25 emergency storm sirens, including 19 in Lawrence.
The state will determine which communities are eligible for federal money to help buy the sirens.
UNDER THE legislation, communities of less than 5,000 population could receive grants of federal money covering 75 percent of the cost of tornado sirens. Local governments must pay the remainder. Federal money will cover half of the cost for communities with populations of more than 5,000. It costs about $7,500 for each siren, including installation.
The spending bill also provides money for several other Kansas projects:
$750,000 for construction of a children's center at the Wyandotte House in Kansas City, Kan., which is a shelter and treatment program for abused and runaway children.
$500,000 to expand social services programs in Kansas City, Kan., including drug treatment, day care and job training for the needy.
$500,000 for a domestic violence program in Wichita.