Lebanon may soon be hiring a drainage mitigation coordinator after the city council approved a first reading vote to create the job on Tuesday.
The position is meant to work full-time with property and business owners to address drainage complaints, which the city identified as a need after its latest flooding event in September. It would require roughly $43,000 per year in salary and benefits from the Stormwater Department’s budget.
Ward 2 Councilor Fred Burton suggested deferring the item until mayor-elect Rick Bell takes office. During his campaign, Bell said looking into department budgets for ways to make cuts would be a top priority.
“I would like to defer this particular ordinance here until we get the new mayor in town,” Burton said.
Ward 3 Councilor Camille Burdine, Ward 4 Councilor Chris Crowell and Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash all voiced support for going ahead with the item.
“I’d like to see us continue to move forward,” Crowell said. “We’ve got a comprehensive recommendation from Public Works and a lot of work’s gone into this. I think we need to just keep moving forward.”
Councilors passed the item’s first reading by majority vote, with Burton abstaining and Ward 6 Councilor Jeni Lind Brinkman absent.
The council also authorized a first reading budget amendment to upgrade lights at the city’s ball fields that were damaged by the March 3 tornado. Although the price tag is $1.6 million, Finance Commissioner Stuart Lawson said the budget impact is much smaller.
“There’s no FEMA money on this, but insurance is going to cover almost 99% of it,” he said. “It’s only going to cost us about $40,000 out of our budget fund balance to pay for the lighting. We’re also getting an upgrade to the LED lighting on this project too as opposed to the normal lighting they already have out at the park.”
The Lebanon City Council’s next regular called meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Dec. 1.