New Franklin Council hears flooding concerns

The rainy month of June, which went down as the fourth wettest June on record at the Akron Canton Airport, caused headaches for many New Franklin residents.

During the July 3 council meeting, City Council heard from several residents about flooding concerns near their home. Some residents who were flooded and couldn’t immediately get out asked if the Fire Department could do a well-being check in future instances to make sure everyone is ok in flooded zones.

Mayor Paul Adamson said the city will review its emergency plan for situations like this to be prepared should an extreme flooding event happen again.

Dorothy Pratt, who lives on Woodward Drive, said water has been pouring into her yard like a lake because of issues with a culvert. She said a sinkhole is also developing near the catch basin.

Adamson said there may be an issue with the pipe, which runs on Pratt’s neighbor’s property. He proposed to that homeowner about replacing the pipe. Since there is no city easement, the homeowner would have to pay for the pipe, but the city offered to do the work. Pratt said her neighbor believes nothing is wrong with the pipe and isn’t willing to pay for it.

“We have 80 of these (pipes that need to be replaced),” Adamson said. “We can’t do all of them at our expense.”

Pratt said she was told they would never have to maintain the pipe when they bought the house.

“I never imagined this would be my problem ever,” Pratt said.

Briann Allen raised concerns about a culvert which is failing on Rhapsody Lane. He said he had 14 inches of water at the back of his home and neighbors told him this is the third time the culvert has failed. He is curious if a fix is going to be done, and if there is a solution.

Adamson said the list of culverts the city needs to address is growing. He said has been in talks with Gov. Mike DeWine’s office and will be talking to the Summit County engineer.

“We are going to continue to identify them and chase funding,” Adamson said.

Residents also asked if there could be increased mosquito spraying in areas that had flooding.

Adamson said he is thankful for the collective effort which took place to get state Route 93 reopened after the culvert caused a portion of the road to collapse. He said anyone with destroyed property from the flooding should contact the Summit County Fiscal Office.

In other business July 3, City Council:

– Approved a transfer of $100,000 from the General Fund to the Police District Fund and $100,000 from the General Fund to the Dispatch Fund.

– Approved to grant a wage increase to the deputy service director. Adamson said this is something he has been thinking about for a while. He said the increase will bring Deputy Service Director Bryan Kepler up to the same pay as the police chief and fire chief. Adamson said when Kepler started they started him at a lower rate to see how he would do. He said Kepler has worked extremely hard and has shown how much he cares.

“He puts in a lot of hours and always shows up,” Adamson said.

– Approved to proceed with the levy of a tax in excess of the 10-mill limitation to replace an existing 5.75-mill fire/ems levy. By replacing instead of renewing the levy, the city will be able to collect on updated tax rates, which will bring in more money for the Fire Department. The median home value in New Franklin is approximately $121,000 and the homeowner would be paying $191 per year for the levy. The replacement will cost a medium home value homeowner $244 per year, an additional $53 per year or $4.40 per month. While the Fire Department is financially in good shape, Adamson said some big purchases are coming including a new engine. He said he hopes the public will support the Fire Department as it has in the past. Councilman Jim Cotts asked what happens if the replacement levy fails. Adamson said the issue is a gamble, but if it fails, the city would have to come back in the spring with a new fire levy.

– Approved an ordinance to regulate and prohibit illicit discharges to the city of New Franklin municipal separate storm sewer system. Adamson said the city didn’t have regulations and this relates to only allowing stormwater to go into the city’s system.

– Approved an ordinance amending ordinance 05-65 by prohibiting excessive vehicle engine idling.

– Approved to enter into an agreement with Pro-Vision and 21st Century Integrated Systems for the purchase of bus cameras and building cameras for Manchester Local Schools in conjunction with the COPS Office Stop School Violence Prevention Program in the amount of $58,875. Adamson said this is a federal grant the schools received that has to be run through the municipality. Manchester Schools Superintendent James Robinson was present at the meeting and said only four grants in the state were given out and one went to Manchester and Green also received one. He said the grant wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the support of the mayor and the city.

– Heard from resident John Knott who asked if the city can install a four-way stop at the intersection of Vanderhoof Road and Kungle Road. Adamson said the city will look into if they can place stop signs there or if a study has to be conducted.

The next New Franklin Council meeting is set to begin immediately following the committee meetings, which are scheduled for 6 p.m. July 17 at New Franklin City Hall.

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This story was also published in The Suburbantie. www.thesuburbanite.com