Council hears sewer, water issue update

By Andrew Garrett -

It’s been a wet year for central Ohio, with above average rainfall for most months. The impact of the resulting runoff on the city’s infrastructure was a continuing theme discussed by London City Council during Thursday evening’s regular meeting.

Mayor Pat Closser reported to council the progress made dealing with high waters throughout London’s most flood-prone areas.

Of the flooding on Sunday, Nov. 12, the mayor said: “By two o’ clock that day, the creeks were already out of their banks, and that was before we even had a drop of rain. All the rain was coming down from up north and working its way down to London, so by the time we started getting rain at five o’clock, the water really had no place to go.”

He wants the citizens of London to be aware that the city has been working daily on the issue since the flooding of July, and that much progress had been made in cleaning out sewer lines and replacing malfunctioning tiles.

The broken tiles on Graham Avenue had been replaced and appeared to be in great working condition, he reported.

A tile that serviced High and Elm streets was also replaced. There was some moderate flooding in this location after that evening’s heavy rain, but it soon receded, Closser said.

Lines servicing Chandler and Virginia avenues were jetted, which blasted out some blockage, but further monitoring and assessment was needed.

Areas of North and South Main streets both experienced some flooding, Closser informed council. The mayor made it known that the flooding in these two areas could be somewhat prevented if citizens acted more responsibly by not piling or blowing leaves and other yard waste into the streets.

“I found myself in some areas in thigh high deep water cleaning leaves off of the catch basins to help with the flow. We drove around town stopping to clear leaves, sticks, and other debris,” he said.

The mayor urges citizens to bag their leaves and other yard waste, and encourages them to not pile branches and such alongside creek beds, as these get pulled in when the water levels rise and cause issues.

The creek bed of Jacqueline Drive needs brush removal and dredging, but this will have to be postponed until the ground freezes. The city has contracted to have brush removed, but the track mower being used to accomplish this became mired in the soft ground of the bank and had to be pulled out.

Mariemont Avenue and Graceland Drive are likely being affected by the adjacent farmlands, Closser told council members. He is meeting with the warden of Madison Correctional to see how they can work together.

Catch basins were cleaned and lines were jetted in the area as well.

As a proactive measure to improving London’s flooding problem, council adopted Resolution 171-17 sponsored by member Trint Hatt authorizing the City Auditor to transfer $200,000 from the General Fund to the Storm Water Utility Fund for improvements to the storm water system. One option discussed was the purchase of a drain scoping camera system which would allow the city to inspect drain blockages as they happen. Currently the city must rent or borrow the equipment from other municipalities.

In other business, council adopted Resolution 168-17 sponsored by Dick Minner to increase the wages of London’s elected and appointed officials by approximately 33 percent starting Jan. 1, 2020. Projected salaries would be $40,000 for the mayor, $60,000 for the city auditor, and $93,338 for the city law director. This group has not seen raises since 2008.

Similarly, Resolution 169-17 sponsored by Josh Peters was also adopted, the purpose being to increase salary ranges of all city department heads and non-union personnel.

Other resolutions and ordinances adopted were:

• Resolution 170-17 Sponsored by: Rex Castle — A resolution authorizing the transfer of funds;

• Resolution 172-17 Sponsored by: Trint Hatt — A resolution amending resolution 113-17;

• Resolution 173-17 Sponsored by: Josh Peters — A resolution authorizing auditor’s warrant for payment;

• Ordinance 174-17 Sponsored by: Rex Castle — An ordinance to make appropriations for current expenses and other expenditures of the city of London, state of Ohio, during the fiscal year ending December 31, 2018; and

• Ordinance 175-17 Sponsored by: Rex Castle — An ordinance in support of coalition of municipalities retaining special counsel for purposes of initiating litigation to challenge the constitutionality of amendments to chapter 718 of the Ohio revised code relating to municipal income tax, and declaring an emergency.

By Andrew Garrett

Reach Andrew Garrett at 740-852-1616, ext. 1616.

Reach Andrew Garrett at 740-852-1616, ext. 1616.