Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Flood calls consume Mentor staff time

Last week, the majority of the city of Mentor’s staff spent time dealing with flood-related problems. Almost every department had to get into the act, according to the latest weekly city manager memo to City Council:

Manager Comments
• Severe storms Saturday morning led to significant flooding in Mentor and throughout Lake County.  Up to 6 inches of rain fell in much of Mentor within a 4-5 hour period. Several roads were impassable, including portions of Center Street, Bellflower, Tyler, Rt. 306, and Heisley. All roads were reopened by 4 p.m.

Police responded to 73 flood-related service calls, while fire responded to 49. The fire and building departments assisted in securing or disconnecting electrical and gas service in some homes, and the fire department assisted in pumping out four basements. 

No significant infrastructure damage was recorded. Approximately 500 residents reported incidents of flooding, with the large majority being sanitary sewer backups. Nearly all city departments have been involved with storm recovery efforts throughout the week. Emphasis has been on communicating with those with special needs and directing them to resources for help, damage assessment, and clean up.

Public Works crews have been active in removing storm-damaged refuse from the curbside through the week and into the evenings and will continue through Saturday. We have been and remain in close contact with the Lake County EMA — who will apply for disaster relief assistance to the state — the Red Cross, the General Health District, and other relevant Lake County agencies.

Storm damage assessment and system performance review within the city is ongoing and reporting will follow. Mentor is providing assistance to the city of Willowick as requested. I encourage all of Council to continue to forward any special needs to the administration, if needed.

Fire Department
• On July 20 at 9:32 a.m. the technical rescue team provided temporary shoring to stabilize a resident’s home after their basement wall caved in from the heavy rains.

Police Department
• Members of the police department assisted the community during the severe flooding on Saturday morning. Several roads were flooded and closed to traffic. Officers were called in early, beginning at 3 a.m., while others were held over to provide proper police coverage for the city. The police responded to 73 calls for service related to the storm in addition to regular calls for service. All roads were reopened by 4 p.m.

• Engineering staff has been working with residents, CT Consultants and the Lake Co. Dept. of Utilities to gather information pertaining to the severe rain event experienced July 20. Approximately 4-6” of rain fell on the City in 4 hours causing flooding of roadways, properties and basements.

Engineering staff has met with various residents requesting information and the homeowners association of Bellflower Terrace Condominiums. Engineering will continue to work with CT Consultants to determine potential future storm water improvements in Mentor and will also continue to assist property owners with flood-related questions.

Parks and Recreation Department
• Black Brook Golf Course was closed July 20 due to flooding and some damage to the bridges. Public Works is working on rerouting our golfers temporarily until things can be fixed.

• Morton pool had 18 inches of water in filter room; the trash pump and part of the pool heater were under water. The pool was closed due to the poor weather conditions and the staff cleaned the pool on Saturday. The trash pump and heater have dried out and both were working by Sunday. The water clarity at Garfield pool is 100% better. We purchased a new heavy duty pool vacuum and the pool staff vacuumed pool all day Saturday and Sunday. All pools had a lot of run-off. We cleaned all day Saturday and all pools looked good by Sunday.

Public Works Department
• Storm response - beginning July 20
• Debris collection - crews working 10-hour days
• CityFest prep
• Poured new handicap ramp - Munson Road

Economic and Community Development
• The City unemployment rate is 6.6%; 0.7% above where it was in June 2012; the rate in Lake County (7.1%) increased 0.4% from a year earlier. The unemployment rate for the state of Ohio increased 0.6% from May to June 2013 and was 0.1% higher than in June 2012. Among cities 50,000+ in population, Mentor ranked third-lowest in the state’s unemployment rate, behind Cleveland Heights (6.5%) and Lakewood (6.4%). Both of these cities experienced unemployment rate increases between May and June 2013.

• The City Manager and Finance Director plan to meet with our financial advisor in August to discuss short-term and long-term financing for capital projects. Current interest rates for one year bond anticipation notes on highly rated issues are selling below 0.30 percent.

-- Betsy Scott, BScott@News-Herald.com, @ReporterBetsy


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