Monday, November 5, 2012

Mentor staff unites to battle Sandy

The damage in Mentor in the wake of Hurricane Sandy had nearly all departments working in tandem this past week. That is reflected in the latest Mentor city manager memo to City Council, along with assorted other goings-on:

Manager Comments
• The Emergency Operations Center at Fire Station #5 was opened Monday afternoon with planning and support functions carried out during this week’s storm activity. The fire department maintained good coordination with the police department, other city departments, local and county agencies and our neighboring fire departments.

• Storm damage throughout the city resulted in multiple power outages from downed electrical wires and transformer fires. There were 12 houses that had trees fall on them and some suffered extensive damage. The fire department responded to two house fires during the storm. The first was on Tuesday morning on Forest Lane and the second house fire occurred Tuesday evening on Dartmoor Road. Both fires were quickly controlled. The only storm-related injuries were from motor vehicle accidents that occurred during the storm.

• House Bill 601 dealing with Municipal Tax Uniformity was introduced to the Ohio House of Representatives on Oct. 30. The language as submitted could result in significant revenue loss for some of Ohio’s municipalities, especially with changes to Net Operating Loss and Residency requirements.

It did not include language to allow the state to create a central collection of local tax revenues, which is positive, but does have language that allows the state to take over the administration of all local tax practices by mandating all local tax ordinances must adopt “by reference” Ohio Revised Code Chapter 718, with no alterations or deviations.

The state would further regulate all local tax operations through the oversight powers of what would be a newly created Municipal Tax Policy Board and the Joint Committee on Agency Rule and Review, which would allow outside private influences to have access to the ability to alter local taxing procedures and rules, directly through the State of Ohio. We will work with RITA to gather information as to the possible impact on the city of Mentor.

Police Department
• Police Department efforts early this week were focused on numerous storm-related activities. Extra staff was brought in to keep the roads open and to assist our residents.

• A male was arrested for shoplifting at Kohl’s and then for using force against the Loss Prevention Agent to escape. The male was chased through the parking lot by a Mentor officer. The officer tackled the male, but struck his head into the side of a parked car while trying to make the arrest. The male was able to get up and run, eventually being caught by two other officers behind Dunkin Donuts. The officer who struck his head received a neck injury. The suspect was charged with robbery and resisting arrest.

• A male was arrested after he attempted to break into a home on Brooks Blvd. The homeowner heard noises from outside and saw the male attempting to open his kitchen window. Police responded and eventually identified the male. He was located at a house in Wickliffe, arrested within an hour of the crime and was charged with attempted burglary.

Fire Department
• On Oct. 25 at 4:36 p.m., the Department responded to a motor vehicle accident with entrapment at 8300 Tyler Blvd. Four patients were transported — two to Lake West and two to Hillcrest.

Public Works Department
• Sandy Response and Cleanup
- All of the DPW’s resources have been focused on dealing with the impact and aftermath of Sandy
- 24/7 staffing and operations since Monday morning
- Removed approximately 45 trees/large limbs from roadways to maintain safety vehicle access
- Provided continuous generator power to approximately 12 signalized intersections
- Continuously monitored storm drainage and maintained flow - no significant drainage problems (aware of at this time)
• Impact on City Parks
- Lost several trees at Mentor Beach Park
- Lost some shingles at city-owned house at Mentor Beach Park
- Pond at Garfield Park overflowed, damaging a baseball field

Parks and Recreation Department
• As part of the city’s efforts to keep the public informed and respond to the needs of the residents during Hurricane Sandy, the Recreation staff operated the Administration’s phone system throughout the night Oct. 29. The Red Cross set up a Reception Center in the Senior Center and became the county’s emergency shelter on Tuesday morning, equipped with supplies and bedding for anyone that was displaced due to the storm. On Thursday, the Red Cross closed the shelter and moved to Fairport Harbor while the Senior Center staff maintained the Reception Center until 10 p.m.

• As we come up on the end of our first month of public hunting in the city we would like to report that we have recorded 56 deer harvested at the time of this writing. We have had three deer leave the hunting area property and had to be tracked to other lands. In these cases the Police Department has been informed. We have maintained a tight rein on all aspects of the program and I believe the program is running very well.

• The Ohio Parks & Recreation Association’s Awards of Excellence Program notified the city of Mentor that the Community Garden was awarded third place in the Programs & Community Wellness Category. This is the city’s first year in the program. The Community Garden was a huge success for the city in terms of participants and donations of fresh produce to the Senior Center’s lunch program.

• Reminder that the Kalahari Resort special group getaway is Thursday. For more information or to make reservations, call the Kalahari Resort at 877-525-2427 and request the “City of Mentor Group Rate.”

Economic and Community Development
• The 2013 Harris Ohio Industrial Directory (a division of D&B) indicates that Mentor experienced a decline of 18 manufacturing firms, but has experienced an increase of 922 manufacturing jobs (the period of study is June 2011 to July 2012). Over a five year time period (2009-2013), manufacturing employment has increased by 1,460 jobs or 17%. A full analysis of the 2013 Harris Ohio Industrial Directory is attached.

• The Lake County Development Council’s annual Economic Forum is scheduled for Thursday at 7:30 a.m. at LaMalfa. Michael Chriszt, VP of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta will present comments about current monetary policy and Dr. J.B. Silvers, Case Western Reserve University, will give an overview and impact of the Affordable Care Act. Tom Thielman is the current president of the LCDC.

• The City received $70,659 this week from AT&T for video service franchise fees for the third quarter of calendar year 2012.

• Career Firefighter Grant Hoyt and Part-time Firefighter John Kelleher have retired after nearly 60 years combined service. Their last shifts were Oct. 30.

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy


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