FINDLAY - Although Monday's flooding was not nearly as severe as the last two times the Blanchard River overflowed its banks, Mayor Tony Iriti last night asked City Council to establish a disaster relief fund to help residents whose property is damaged by high water.
The mayor said he hopes such a fund could cover "the gaps" in assistance available to people in such emergencies.
In many cases, he said, the affected residents are renters who don't have renters' insurance but need help replacing damaged household items, like mattresses and box springs.
"We know there are folks out there that need some help. We're going to try to come up with a way to help them," the mayor said, adding that council will have to determine what is "reasonable and necessary."
The idea was referred to the appropriations committee, which meets later this month.
The mayor also announced the formation of a task force that he has asked to develop a long-term plan for eliminating the kind of flooding that has been increasingly common.
"I am looking at flood mitigation in this community not as a project that starts at a certain date and ends or that costs a certain amount of money. I'm looking at how much can we put toward flood mitigation every year until we get the required results," he said.
Findlay was hit with high water Dec. 2 and Jan. 6. Residents along the river and two creeks that feed into it were preparing for a third flood Monday but got an unexpected break.
About 3 a.m. yesterday, the Blanchard River crested at 12.7 feet - not quite two feet above flood stage of 11 feet.
While many streets were closed by high water, no one had to be evacuated and no one spent the night at a shelter the American Red Cross has set up, said Garry Valentine, director of the Hancock County Emergency Management Agency.
Martin Thompson, a hydrometeorological technician with the National Weather Service in Cleveland, said the Blanchard was expected to dip below flood stage by last night.
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