By Jeff Gallatin
City officials late last week received good financial news on several fronts, either getting or recouping nearly $700,000 in reimbursements, project savings or grants.
In the reimbursements, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials reimbursed the city for $140,217 in disaster aid for expenses the city incurred as a result of Superstorm Sandy. Safety service Director Scott Thomas met with FEMA representatives three times, while FEMA officials also did site inspections with city workers throughout the city.
“We were pretty hard hit like a lot of communities,” Mayor Kevin Kennedy said. “Scott Thomas deserves a lot of credit for working with the FEMA officials and getting this done for the city.”
Thomas said the funds will be put into employee pay and overtime costs, equipment usage and storm cleanup.
City officials said Republic Services also has agreed to reimburse the city $33,040 for the interruption of recycling and trash pickup in April due
to Republic workers twice stopping pickup in North Olmsted and other area communities to show support
for fellow union members in the Youngstown area. Trash pickup was delayed for one to two days, and recycling was not picked up during the work action.
A group of area mayors has asked Republic officials to provide them with a plan of how they plan to react if there are any similar events.
Thomas and Kennedy said project officials on the more-than $38 million wastewater treatment plant renovation and upgrade project have been able
to save an estimated $500,000 and shorten the time frame for completing the project by about two months. They attributed it to value engineering, creativity and teamwork. City Engineer Pete DiFranco said they are hopeful the project continues to run smoothly and effectively.
Officials anticipate being able to complete the project in late 2014. The work is being done to upgrade facilities and comply with federal Environmental Protection Agency mandates. The city has passed a series of rate increases to help pay for the work.
Lastly, city officials also announced they have received a $5,000 community recycling awareness grant from the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District.
Thomas said the money is being used to provide residents with complimentary packs of up to 10 yard-waste bags. The bags can be picked up at the service department offices at City Hall, 5200 Dover Center Road, during weekday business hours. The bags are on a first-come, first serve basis.
In addition, another portion of the grant is being used to mail an informational flier on the recycling program, which will be mailed to residents in the latter part of May.