County alerts state to flood concerns, issues $7.6 million in debt
By Justin Wier
The director of the Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency expects to hear whether those impacted by recent flooding will qualify for state relief this week.
Dennis O’Hara, who leads the agency, told the commissioners about his efforts at Monday’s meeting in Poland Township.
He said 270 residents contacted the agency regarding flooding that occurred in Boardman, Struthers and Poland the night of Aug. 10.
Volunteers conducted a survey of affected neighborhoods and made contact with residents on 70 county streets.
O’Hara warned the commissioners that the state and federal guidelines to qualify for disaster relief are highly restrictive.
If the state did approve aid, O’Hara said it would be in the form of low-interest Small Business Administration loans.
He advised county home-owners to obtain flood insurance or a sewer-backup rider.
“Having the proper insurance is everybody’s first line of defense,” O’Hara said.
The county will also look to nonprofit agencies that can help assist with maintenance needs.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the commissioners approved the issuance of up to $7.605 million in general obligation bonds.
The county will take out $3.375 million in new debt; the remainder comprises existing debt the county will roll over.
Nearly $2.5 million of the new debt will pay for emergency projects encountered by the county sanitary engineer’s office.
Pipes collapsed in Poland, under Interstate 76 in Milton Township and near the new Panera Bread development at South Avenue and U.S. Route 224.
Bill Coleman, who manages the sanitary engineer’s office, said the county will re-line 3,500 feet of pipe in Poland to prevent future collapses.