Loyall Fire Chief Vern Guffy told members of the Loyall City Council on Monday there will have to be volunteers available to close flood and drainage gates if a disaster or flood occurs in the county, due to his department being “very thin.”
“We were paged out on something last week and nobody from this department went,” said Guffy. “It got took care of by the Harlan Fire Department, but nobody from our department went because there was nobody to go. Even the department that called for us to come help didn’t have any drivers, is what I was told.”
Guffy also said he needs volunteers to help with the flood gates in Rio Vista in the event of a disaster or flood. He said with the decline in volunteer firefighters, the city needs more community volunteers.
“We’re going to have to have volunteers from somewhere to help with the closing of these gates, because when the real thing comes everybody’s hands are going to be full,” said Mayor Clarence Longworth. “If we leave one thing undone Loyall will be hurting. We’ve got gates in Rio Vista, the upper end of the city, plus drainage gates that will have to be closed. I found out the other day the county didn’t even know where the drainage gates were or how they worked. We’re sitting down here assuming we’ve got people who know where things are and how to do them, and the last few times things had to be done it was the Harlan and Loyall fire departments who did it.”
Longworth said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have a certain procedure you have to follow to close the gates and you can’t close gates on the railroad without the permission of CSX.
“We’ve got a meeting coming up on Feb. 19, from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. at city hall with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” said Longworth. “The corps will talk about levee maintenance, flood and drainage gates. We hope representatives from the county, including the county judge-executive, will also make plans to attend this meeting.”
During the council meeting, Longworth took time to recognize councilman James Hagy for his many volunteer services to the city. He said Hagy has helped with construction at the city’s 840 park, he is the new PRIDE coordinator, has helped install cameras throughout city hall, watched the gym when the mayor has been unavailable, cuts grass along the roadways and most recently agreed to sit on the city’s Board of Ethics.
“Hagy has helped in more ways than one — a lot of ways,” said Longworth. “He goes to London with Mark (Duff) and Vern (Guffy) to represent the city for sewer projects also.”
While conducting new business, councilman Dewayne Williams told Longworth he had complaints from the owner of apartments on the corner of Mapother Street saying the road there is higher than the sidewalks and is causing water to run into his building when it rains.
Longworth said the owner has offered to help with the costs for concrete to get the work done. He said the city doesn’t have the manpower to do concrete work at this time and would “love to have some volunteers help with this project.”
In other council actions:
*Voted to renew the city’s Air Evac contract for all city employees and council members;
*Held first reading of the city’s annual compensation to mayor and council ordinance.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at email@example.com