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Silex still evaluating flood losses

Posted on Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 8:24 am

image1A majority of the time spent during Silex’s July City Council meeting focused on updating and explaining the continued situation with the flooding and damage that has occurred in June.

City Administrator William Barnes explained that he was at that time still in the process of working with FEMA as well as the insurance companies to consolidate information.

The recent declaration of Lincoln County and other areas as a federal disaster area will greatly help the community in rebuilding providing more resources for both residents and businesses.

Barnes advised residents to follow appropriate channels through the FEMA website in filling disaster claims and for assistance.

Barnes explained further that he was still even at that point completing the city’s own claims on losses and that as a whole businesses in Silex has reported losses as at least one million dollars.

Both Mayor David Rice and Barnes extended thanks to several citizens and groups for their selfless effort and help during the flood as they assisted with the clean up and aftermath.

Rice singled out the Silex Ladies Auxiliary who had ran the Silex Country Kitchen up until the flood.

The Auxiliary had given the city several thousand dollars to help expedite emergency needs in the city including the cost of dumpsters, a computer, cleaning supplies and other basic necessities that the city needed immediately after the flood and as the clean up began.

Former Mayor Janet Baker inquired to why the donation was done in all cash and why not a check used.

Rice explained that the timetable and necessity of the items made sense for the Auxiliary to make the contribution and at the time the bank in Silex was unable to process any transactions.

Baker disagreed and said she was able to do business there that day and didn’t see why they dealt in cash.

Resident and former Aldermen Lynne Lucket added to what Baker had said by saying that they we’re “talking about doing things they way they should be done.”

Tempers flared between Baker and Rice as she questioned the legality and validity of the group.

Rice ended the conversation stating that a receipt was taken and that the Ladies Auxiliary has contributed multiple times to the city when the city was in financial constraints.

Several other residents raised questions over the organization of the Silex Ladies Auxiliary, its membership and how to become a part of it. Alderman Peggy Richardson directed those citizens to speak with Dot Ford who served as the groups president and that they were open to anyone.

In the Public Works Department report Steve Twellman, Public Works Supervisor explained the massive strain and devastation the flood had on the cities pumps.

Twellman explained that most of the pumps in the older portion of town were down and filled with mud.

The pumps that were functioning were heavily strained and struggling to function.

Currently they were evaluating options to fix the pumps that are necessary for residents and business and to eliminate pumps that were already scheduled to go out of service when the city upgrades its water and sewer systems in the near future.

Twellman told the aldermen it would take at least $10,000 for the pumps to be up and functioning again at least temporarily.

As the meeting closed out Alderman David Heimburger inquired as to the role of Sylvia Roper in the city government and as city clerk.

Heimburger said “How was she hired, what’s her salary?” as he expressed belief that the board had never approved a clerks position or hiring at this time.

Barnes explained that per prior city council meetings and what the board had approved they advertised and interviewed for the position.

Several residents in the crowd asked where the notice was posted and said they’d never saw it.

Barnes further explained that they had three candidates apply and after interviews between the mayor and himself Roper had been selected.

Heimburger made it clear to those present he felt that the hire was wrong and said, “It should be agreed on, I want to know the process on how she was hired.”

Before the conversation could move farther Alderman Justin Spainer moved to adjourn and Richardson seconded it with Heimburger voting against.

[This article was submitted by Jacob W. Thompson, Silex Correspondent.]