Lisbon lightens storm’s burden

LISBON – The village is doing what it can to provide some relief to residents who sustained property damage from last week’s severe thunderstorm.

Village Council agreed at Tuesday’s meeting to waive the $10 permit fee needed for those repairing their homes or businesses damaged by the June 11 downburst that toppled more than 100 trees.

This was done at the suggestion of Mayor Dan Bing, who said, “These people have suffered enough already.”

One home was destroyed by a tree knocked into it, while 20 other homes sustained damage that will require significant repairs. Another 71 homes were reported to have damaged roofs, siding or gutters.

Residents will still be required to obtain a permit from the village before beginning repairs.

Prior to the council meeting, the village Board of Public Affairs announced it was extending the deadline for shutting off water/sewer service to delinquent property owners in zone A in recognition of the hardship created by the storm.

The delay was the idea of BPA Clerk Hazel White, who was preparing to mail out the delinquency notices to 57 households in zone A, many of whom live in the west side of town, which experienced the most significant damage from the storm.

These households’ delinquencies date back to May 1 and remain outstanding. The normal procedure would have been to mail out the final shut-off notices on Tuesday, giving them until June 25 to become current.

White recommending delaying that because many of the households will likely have to incur the additional expense of repairing their damaged homes and clearing downed trees and debris from their property.

The BPA agreed, and instead those property owners will be notified they have until July 25 to pay what they owe or face termination of their utility services.

“I live in that neighborhood (but was spared), so I know what those people are going through,” said BPA Chairwoman Carol Petrachkoff. “We’re just giving these people time to get back on their feet.”

Much of the meeting was taken up thanking neighboring towns who sent street department crews to help with the clean up, as did the Columbiana County Engineer’s Office and Ohio Department of Transportation.

Three tree-trimming businesses offered their services for free, while local churches, organizations and individuals armed with chain saws also showed up to help clear blocked streets of down trees and debris. Others donated cases of water without being asked.

“I know I’ll forget someone, but I want to thank everyone who helped … It’s a testament to the people of this county who came together” to assist Lisbon, Bing said.

The community swimming pool was open when the storm struck at 5 p.m., and park Manager Dana Blackburn said Assistant Pool Manager Shelby Renfro responded by immediately moving the children into a safe area of the pool building.

“There were a couple of scared teenage life guards but they did their job,” she said.

Mayor Bing asked residents to move the tree limbs and branches to the curb to be picked up to make the clean up go quicker.