Last night's city council meeting was interesting to say the least.
It began with several flood victims telling how their homes were severely flooded, some for the first time in 30 years. One person lost her furniture, and her floors had to be replaced. Two other people in separate homes were actually driven from their homes and are afraid to move back because of the fear of disease from the human waste along with the flooding.
A lady cannot plant a vegetable garden for a year because of fear of Ecoli. Another gentleman brought his beautiful little girl who can no longer play in her yard with her brothers because of the human and animal waste. They have also lost several of their possessions. People talked about refrigerators floating from their kitchens into their living rooms, and some were moved to tears.
Thankfully the council voted unanimously to allocate $100,000 to help these people, and maybe more in the future. Another person asked about FEMA funds to help the victims. Mayor England said the city is looking into that.
Several of the council members expressed concern and offered solutions. Mr. McLaughlin said there is a dire need and something needs to be done before someone gets sick or hurt. Mr. Gonder said Mr. Rosenbarger had asked about a grant to help flood victims and suggested a moratorium on building permits until the flooding issue is resolved. Mrs. Benedetti suggested a change in the ordinance to make sure building sites under an acre are regulated. Mr. Price wants to look at the development over the last few years and see why there have been so many recent problems.
Mr. Coffey appointed two committees: One will look into the flooding problems and another will work with the Commissioners and perhaps make changes the way the Stormwater Board sets it's rates. Mr. Gahan said that we cannot change our rates if the county does not.
Mr. England made a plea for a raise in rates to help the city clean up the debris out of the ditches and creeks. He said we have "picks and shovels" and we need heavy equipment. He added that the city needs the tools to work with, especially since the city took over the Stormwater Utility six months ago. He added that the street department workers are picking up debris and cleaning up after storms and are not able to do their real jobs, which is street line painting, replacing signs, cutting grass, etc. He added that "It can't be done with what we've got" and that he "Is not intimidated by the voters or the media". He also said that under the circumstances , "If I had your problems I would not be satisfied with me either". All I can say is I would not want to have his job.
Then it was time to vote. Ordinance G-09-15 to raise the Stormwater rates by $2.00 per month passed 5-4. But Ordinance G-09-16 to raise the user/service fees for garbage, refuse and yard waste by $5.00 per month failed.
After this it was 10:00 and I had to leave. Enough was enough.