Infrastructure & Services

Village crews commended on recovery job well done

 

The Village crews did an outstanding job getting the town’s electric system up and running after last week’s wind storm, Interim Village Manager John Weithofer said at the Village Council meeting on Thursday, Sept. 18. The meeting had been rescheduled from its regular date on Sept. 15 due to the two-day power outage following the storm.

“This was a dedicated effort,” said Weithofer, who had a 30-year career as a city manager. “It was one of the best emergency responses I’ve seen in my career.”

Council members also offered praise for the local recovery effort.

The Village electric, road and park crews all worked together in the effort after the storm, according to Weithofer, and the workers put in at least 12-hour days during the initial period of power outage. Assisting the efforts were crews from seven other communities, who came to town for three days through an AMP-Ohio mutual aid program. The Village electric system was largely up and running on Tuesday, less than two days after the storm, according to Weithofer, who said that villagers at that point had to wait for DP&L to repair its downed lines so that power could be restored. Downtown power came on at Tuesday noon, along with some residences, and most remaining residential power was restored by the next day.

The AMP-Ohio assistance was critical, Weithofer said. As well as providing additional manpower, AMP-Ohio assisted Yellow Springs by using its resources in the governor’s office in Columbus to aid the Village’s communications with DP&L.

“AMP-Ohio proved its value,” Weithofer said. “Without those resources, we wouldn’t have had power for weeks.”

Weithofer’s comments referred to the wind storm that swept through the village for several hours on Sunday, Sept. 14. Winds of up to 62 miles per hour were recorded in Greene County, the remnants of Hurricane Ike that gained energy from meeting up with a cold weather system, according to meterologist Andy Hatzos of the National Weather Service in Wilmington in an interview last week.

The exact amount of property damage from the storm is not known, but 12 structures suffered major damage and 56 suffered minor damages from falling limbs and trees, Weithofer said. According to a previous interview with Miami Township Fire-Rescue Chief Colin Altman, four local people who were outside during the wind storm suffered injuries from falling limbs, although all of the injuries were minor.

The patience and cooperation of village residents also contributed to a succesful response to the storm, according to Weithofer, who said that after the Village on Monday requested that residents restrict their water usage to only essential use, water use decreased by 70 percent. That decrease in usage gave the water treatment crew time to install a generator to ensure an adequate water supply, according to Weithofer.

Before the wind storm, the Village did not have necessary wiring to hook up a generator to its water facilities, so that wiring needed to be installed and the wellfield and treatment plant now have the capability to be powered by a generator, Weithofer said.

Villagers can help with the cleanup by piling debris next to the curb, and branches and limbs will be picked up in the next couple of weeks, he said.

In other Village business:

• Council postponed acting on a resolution that would have terminated its lease with Stutzman’s Nursery and initiated a new lease with The Ranch Managerie Animal Sanctuary, Inc.

Located on U.S. 68 North, Stutzman’s is a longtime village business located on eight acres of land owned by the Village and leased by owner Gary Stutzman. The move to terminate the lease came after the business was late paying rent since the beginning of 2008, and since there was no response to a Village request that Stutzman’s obtain insurance for its animal rescue operation, according to Village Solicitor John Chambers. The business has from 50 to 100 animals on the premises, according to Chambers, who recommended that Council terminate the lease and initiate one with Ranch Managerie, whose head, Nick Ormes, has stated that his organization can provide insurance for the animal sanctuary.

About 15 villagers, including Stutzman’s employees, attended the meeting, with most urging Council to work with Stutzman to resolve the difficulties.

“It’s good to show a longtime business person in Yellow Springs a little leeway,” said Martha Ridley.

In a prepared statement, Stutzman employee Colby Silvert asked Council to give the business 10 more days so that employees and supporters can help raise the needed funds for rent and insurance.

But Council should act now to terminate the lease, according to Ormes, who stated that his organization would be the most responsible in providing insurance for the animal rescue operation.

Council postponed voting on the resolution until its next meeting on Oct. 6 in response to a suggestion from President Judith Hempfling that more information is needed.

• In an update on the new Village manager search process, consultant Don Vermillion reported that he received 46 applications for the position, of whom 26 are Ohio residents. According to Vermillion, about 100 villagers responded to a survey seeking public input. Council will conduct daylong interviews with the three finalists on Oct. 7, 13 and 20. The interview process will include lunch with five citizens selected by Council, a tour of the village, an informal meal with Council and the interim Village manager, an interview with Council in executive session, and a public forum open to all.

• Council unanimously approved paying $19,000 to Woolpert and Associates, Inc. for a water and sewer rate study on the Village wastewater treatment plant.

The amount is reasonable, Weithofer said, adding that comparable studies are often in the $20,000 to $30,000 range.

• Council approved adding Byron Hart-Arnett, a Miami Township resident, to the Visioning Task Force, at the request of task force member Len Kramer, who said Hart-Arnett has been meeting with the group as an unofficial member. In another task force change, Miami Township Trustee Chris Mucher will replace Mark Crockett, who resigned for personal reasons.

• Council approved appropriating $8,500 to engineer John Eastman of LJB to complete an update of the Village Comprehensive Plan. The completed plan will go back to the Village Planning Commission and then return to Council for approval.

• Council went into executive session to review the Village manager applicants.

 

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