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City plans meetings to address drainage, flooding issues

Mary Hinds • Updated Jul 26, 2013 at 9:58 PM

Lebanon Commissioner of Public Works Jeff Baines announced Thursday a series of meetings to allow residents from all six city wards to comment on what drainage/flooding issues they see as most significant.

In October, the Lebanon City Council passed a measure to free reserve funds to address flooding after storms and heavy rainfall brought the drainage situation to a head. Councilors said they were inundated with calls about flooding in their districts.

At that meeting, Ward 3 Councilor Rob Cesternino proposed giving each ward $50,000 from reserves to address the problem. Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Huddleston countered with a motion to give each city ward $100,000 to work on flooding issues. The council ultimately voted in favor of releasing $600,000 from reserves to address flooding issues immediately. The measure passed handily on its second reading.

Now, the city is following up by scheduling a series of public meetings to address frequent flooding throughout the city.

The city is planning three public meetings in January to receive information from citizens related to drainage maintenance and flooding problems. Baines and other city staff members will be present to listen to concerns and answer questions.

Cesternino said the meeting will be an opportunity for residents who have these issues to be heard.

"This is an opportunity for people who have issues to get to the people who can affect change," he said. "I think one of the things that government doesn't do well is communicate."

He said while councilors will be at their ward's respective meeting, it's not politicians who will make a difference.

"It will be up to Baines and the experts to prioritize what can and should be done with the $100,000 in each ward," Cesternino said. "I would think it would be good to unclog the drains and get the water moving."

He said once the drains are unclogged, then the city can get a clearer picture of what the real problems are.

"That's what I wanted the money for," he said.

Property owners are encouraged to attend the meeting planned for their respective ward. The meetings are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. and will be held at Lebanon City Hall at 200 North Castle Heights Ave. Wards 1 and 2 will meet Jan. 10, Wards 3 and 4 will meet Jan. 17 and Wards 5 and 6 will meet Jan. 24.

Information regarding wards may be found at lebanontn.org. In the "government" menu, click on the "City Council" page for a Ward map. Citizens may also contact the engineering and planning offices at 615-444-3647 ext. 253, 261 or 272.

Those who are unable to attend one of the public meetings are encouraged to go to lebanontn.org/index.php/component/content/article/7-general-content/207-drainage and complete the drainage information form online and/or contact staff members at 615-444-3647 ext. 267.

Baines can be contacted directly at 615-443-2824 or jeff.baines@lebanontn.org.

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