The Lebanon City Council is looking to move $250,000 into the Stormwater Department’s budget as part of a long-term flood response plan.
If approved, that money will be used to fund a series of contracted drainage maintenance projects. A first reading vote on the item is scheduled for Tuesday.
“They’re going to do two smaller type contracts with that, they’re $25,000 or less,” Engineering Director Regina Santana said during the council’s work session on Thursday. “When we get later into this drainage log and work order log, some of the bigger projects, kind of put some of together and bid out a $200,000 project to get several of those things knocked out.”
Public Works Administrator Lee Clark is also putting together a list of backed up pipes and other issues the city’s drainage crew can address more quickly.
“This is an issue that’s been around for a long time,” Mayor Bernie Ash said. “We really haven’t had the manpower to attack it like we need to, and my thought was that we could take some of the more persistent issues, bid them out by contract and get an independent contractor to get boots on the ground and get started working on some of these projects. And that would free up our drainage crew to do what they normally do.”
The city has also sent out requests for design proposals to address some of its most flood-prone areas: Mulberry and Burdock Street, the Hallcroft Estates, Hill Street and Cumberland Drive.
“Those proposals were due back in this past Monday, and so we’ve got them,” Santana said. “We had four applicants, and we’ll go through and evaluate them and then pick either one or more and decide which engineering team we want to have work on which one of those.”
According to Santana, the city is not allowed bid those types of professional services and will need to determine their price ranges by meeting with the engineering teams. The city council will have to approve any expenses.
“Each one of them, the goal is to have when they’re finished working on them … a set of plans that we can then in turn also bid out to address some of the bigger areas that encompass those four parts of the city,” she said. “They’re bigger than what the street department’s drainage crew could handle. If they did one of these, it would just have them tied down for a month or better, each one of them.”
Another piece of the city’s flood response plan is developing new communication strategies. The goal is for citizens to know more about their resources, what the city is responsible for maintaining and what they can expect during a flooding event.
“We’re going to try to do a better job of communicating to the public what our role is exactly during those type of events,” Santana said. “And when they have problems, where some of the resources and different things that they have available to them (are).”
Economic Development Director Sarah Haston and Public Works Commissioner Jeff Baines are working together on updating the city’s website, developing email outreach and more.
Ward 5 Councilor Tick Bryan said multiple constituents have contacted him with drainage questions, indicating a need for that outreach.
“People really do not know where their responsibility lies and where the city’s responsibility lies,” he said. “I think by trying to inform the public … it’s going to help tremendously, especially when we get calls, aldermen, and we’ll be able to relay that information.”
The Lebanon City Council’s next regular called meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday and will be conducted electronically. A special called meeting is also scheduled for Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in place of a regular called meeting that would have fallen on Election Day.
Members of the public interested in attending either meeting or providing comments are asked to contact Mike Collinsworth at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-443-2839 ext. 2401.