Plain City officials seek ways to help Florida, Texas

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Plain City officials are discussing how they can help Houston and Florida.
Plain City Village Administrator Kevin Vaughn said Plain City has signed onto the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). The EMAC is a mutual aid agreement between states. It enables states to share resources during natural and man-made disasters, including terrorism. Vaughn said the village had not been part of the agreement. He said he had a discussion with officials from the Union County Emergency Management Agency and signed the agreement.
Vaughn explained that with flooding in the Houston area from Hurricane Harvey and damage in Florida from Hurricane Irma, “they are really needing help bad.”
He said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is asking for help from communities across the country. Vaughn asked council about the possibility of sending some village equipment and employees to help.
Council members asked what specifically the village could be doing. Vaughn specifically mentioned the village wood chipper and police officers.
He said FEMA and other agencies will post needs. Sometimes the posts are to specific communities other times the posts are more general. He said sometimes the needs are for equipment and sometimes they are for people with skill sets. He said communities are not obligated to fill the needs.
Village solicitor Paul Lafayette asked if village employees would be operating village equipment. Vaughn said they would.
Council members asked if the village would be required to pay for food and lodging, in addition to the employee’s salary.
“I don’t have those answers at this point,” Vaughn said.
Council asked about the possibility of reimbursement from FEMA. Vaughn said FEMA has a reimbursement rate for each piece of equipment, though he did not know the specifics.
“It would be a little bit of time before we get that,” Vaughn said.
Fiscal Officer Renee Sonnet said it takes six months from the completion of a relief effort for FEMA reimbursement to arrive.
Council told Vaughn to look into ways the village can help.
“I would be alright with it up to a certain point,” Councilmember Nick Kennedy said.
He said he wants to help and the village can pay for some expense to send some employees to help, but at some point cannot afford to pay for employees out of Plain City.
Council member John Rucker agreed.
“As long as it fits into the budget, I am alright with it,” Rucker said.
In other news:
– Vaughn reported that “despite the cooler summer, the pool had a very good summer in revenue.”
He said the pool also had increased costs. He said the pool purchased a heater, which allowed it to open earlier and to accommodate the local swim club. He said that helped spur the increased revenue.
Following an executive session, council approved a $5,000 salary increase for Vaughn. The increase will bring his salary to $82, 098, with a $4,800 vehicle allowance. Mayor Darrin Lane said Vaughn will also get the 3 percent increase promised to village staff. He said the council discussed a raise for Sonnett as well as Police Chief Dale McKee. The mayor said Sonnett received a raise last year and McKee has always said additional money should go to his officers, not to his salary. Both will still receive the 3 percent increase.
-Jerome Township resident John Wirchanski addressed council. He asked the village to keep area residents informed about progress with water and sewer service agreements with Columbus.
“There needs to be communication so there are no rumors and not negativities,” Wirchanski said.
He said Jerome Township officials and residents are, “very concerned” about Plain City contracting with Columbus.
They don’t want to be annexed by Plain City or Columbus,” Wirchanski said.
He said he understands Plain City’s difficulty negotiating with Marysville.
“I think their (Marysville) negotiations are screwed up by their relationship with Dublin,” said Wirchanski.



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