Mullins hosts tour to illustrate local flood mitigation plans

Jermyn, Mayfield officials lead roundtable discussion for Policy Committee

MAYFIELD, Sept. 27 – Showcasing the planning and preparedness of two communities located along the Lackawanna River, state Rep. Kyle Mullins hosted a tour and roundtable discussion with the Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee in Jermyn and Mayfield Tuesday.

“Flood damage, stormwater and erosion issues don’t abide by municipal or political boundaries,” said Mullins, D-Lackawanna. “Many miles separate our districts, but all the members of the Policy Committee here today represent municipalities with flooding concerns. It’s not only an issue when it comes to protecting homes, but – as we heard again today – municipalities have a need to find solutions that don’t place an undue burden on taxpayers.”

The committee stopped in the borough of Jermyn in the morning to talk to Mayor Tony Fuga before heading to Mayfield to speak with Mayor Al Chelik and local officials.

Jermyn, a borough of about 1-square mile, experienced a flood from Rushbrook Creek in 2003. The flood fit the description of a 100-year flood, Fuga said, and it affected a three- to four-block radius of homes and real estate. Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski asked follow-up questions to see if phase-in funding was a possibility for Jermyn.    

“I wanted to share the information I learned with officials here in Jermyn and Mayfield, simply because we went through so many water issues and repairs in Wilkes-Barre,” said Pashinski. “I think we can all agree weather patterns have changed dramatically, and municipalities need to alter and adapt to new concerns.”

In Mayfield, Chelik noted his downtown had begun to rebound in attracting businesses, but in the last decade about 300 structures were placed in a newly defined floodplain – which has affected economic development. Mayfield has a levee, but it needs to raise the levee and make other changes. 

It marked the committee’s second of three days of events scheduled in northeast Pennsylvania. The committee will wrap up its tour of NEPA with a hearing hosted by Pashinski on Wednesday, when testifiers will explain about the need for clear communication about the resources available for the growing number of grandparents raising grandchildren. The hearing will take place at 10 a.m. at Wilkes University.