WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Frustrations over flooding problems in Warren turned into a shouting match at a meeting Tuesday evening.
When councilman Ken MacPherson suggested some city employees may need replaced, Safety Service Director Eddie Colbert came to their defense.
The shouting match between McPherson and Colbert began just after pollution control director Ed Haller said that 70% of the city’s flooding problems were on private property and that the city had no control over private property.
MacPherson responded saying the city needed to find a way to get control, and if it can’t, then maybe some people need replaced.
That’s when Colbert stepped in.
MacPherson: “You’re out of order. Please be quiet.”
Colbert: “You’re out of order by disrespecting department heads.”
MacPherson: “Maybe I am. Maybe I am.”
Colbert: “He is here to try to help. He is here to try to help.”
MacPherson: “And I agree. I don’t want anyone to tell us we can’t do something because it’s illegal.”
Colbert: “He told you it’s illegal.”
MacPherson: “He has no legal basis to say it’s illegal.”
The big issue in Warren is that many houses have their storm water runoff tied into their sanitary sewer lines, which causes flooding during heavy rains.
MacPherson suggested changing the law to allow the city to go onto private property and correct the problem, but Colbert said it’s not that easy.
“We’re not going to go around and tell everybody you’ve got to pay five, six, seven thousand dollars to reconnect your sanitary line to your stormwater line. We know you can’t afford it,” MacPherson said.
Colbert said a study — approved by the EPA — laid out a plan on what the city can do to alleviate the flooding. The downtown phase has already been completed.
“These two last big storms we had, there was one place that didn’t get flooded: downtown. So we know that the plan that’s in place works,” Colbert said.
MacPherson suggested maybe the city needs better consultants.
“We need to do something because it’s not acceptable to keep make excuses, period. And that’s the objective here. How do we convert angst into action?” MacPherson said.
Warren Mayor Doug Franklin reminded the 25 people at the meeting that heavy rain, flooding rain has not been unique to Warren. That people all over the aastern United States dealt with flooding this past summer.