October 21, 2009 Edition

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WR Council adopts
hazard mitigation plan

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

At their October meeting, the Walnut Ridge City Council adopted a natural hazard mitigation plan for the city, discussed grant money received for new police cars and made plans to meet with house inspectors concerning a homeowner's contention that leaks from the city pool has damaged her home beyond repair.

The council voted to adopt a natural hazard mitigation plan for the city. Under the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, the United States Congress required that local jurisdictions have in place a Federal Emergency Management Agency-approved Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan as a condition of receipt of certain future mitigation funding.

"We have to have a plan in place in order to receive federal money in the event of a natural disaster," Mayor Michelle Rogers said.

Rogers also announced that the city has received a $60,000 grant through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program. The money will be used to buy two 2010 Dodge Chargers for the police department. The cars will be white and must be equipped with cameras to record all traffic stops. They come with a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

The mayor also announced that Steve Jackson has resigned his position on the water commission due to an overloaded schedule. Bill Wilcoxson was chosen to finish out Jackson's term.

Michelle Sheets and her mother, Henrietta Williams, were in attendance following the council's request last month to give councilmen a month to look into their allegations that leaks from the city pool had caused Sheets' home to sink, caused walls to buckle and was responsible for black mold throughout her home.

Mayor Rogers told the council that an inspector was sent by the city to take samples of the mold and would have those results in four to five days.

"He said he can tell us what type of mold we are dealing with but there is no test to prove what caused it," Rogers said.

Street Superintendent Jim Poindexter added that he had taken elevation readings around the property. "It seems to me the side driveway prevents water from flowing anywhere but under the house," he said. He added that he did not think there was a tile placed under the driveway when it was added.

Williams told the council a tile was placed there a long, long time ago and that the driveway was not causing the standing water.

Alderman Dirk Davis told Sheets and Williams that there are houses all over Walnut Ridge with water and mold problems not caused by the pool.

Williams insisted that the pool leaks into their backyard and under the home, and that it was the cause of the problems with the home.

Sheets told the council that she wants them to buy the property for the $18,000 she owes on it. She said the bank has told her that even if she tore the house down, they would not finance a new one at that location because of the water problem.

The council agreed to a special meeting with the inspector the city has hired as soon as his test results are complete. Sheets and Williams are also invited to attend and bring the inspector they have to present their findings in an attempt to settle the situation.

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