BY ANDREA TORTORA
The Cincinnati Enquirer
FALMOUTH - Pounds of paper are on the way to this city, just another of the burdens being placed on the backs of those who live here.
The sheer volume of forms to be filled out, filed and forwarded for buyout applications, grants and building permits is so large all City Clerk Terry England and his staff can do is swallow hard and wait for the rush.
''I guess we have no other choice,'' Mr. England said Wednesday as he and three employees moved borrowed desks, filing cabinets and dividers into a temporary city hall at the corner of West Shelby and Main streets.
A sign on the door reads ''City Hall Closed Wednesday Afternoon.'' It doesn't stop residents from coming in. And it doesn't stop Mr. England from answering their questions.
They want to know what information they'll need for the buyout forms. Mr. England tells them what he can, but asks them to wait until today.
Starting at 8 a.m. today, city hall will distribute the forms residents need to complete to sell their homes in a buyout. It's been a month and nine days since Falmouth was nearly submerged by the Licking River.
Residents have until next Thursday to return them to city hall.
More paperwork on way
Buyout forms are just the latest papers city officials have to handle. And once the April 30 application for federal funds passes, more paperwork will be on the way.
''There's a huge amount of paperwork with grants, FEMA. And at the same time, we're trying to look toward the future for the long term,'' Councilman Jeff Carson said. ''It's an awful lot to do.''
Especially for a city already taking care of building permits, electric, water, sewer and garbage bills, eight city departments, personnel and their payable accounts as well as city taxes.
The three full-time and one part-time employees in the clerk's office already were working as hard as they could during pre-flood days, Mr. England said.
Ilean Koettell, who has worked 10 years for the city, said she's not worried about the new forms.
''We'll be answering a lot of questions, but if it's done the way it should be, people will come in, pick them up, fill them out and return them and we'll pass them on to the council,'' she said.
The hard part will be putting the buyout application together.
Council members also have full-time jobs - Mr. Carson at his auto parts store, Anthony Strong as a teacher at Pendleton County High School, others in insurance sales.
Council members also have been putting in more than their normal hours. These days, Mr. Carson spends an average of 12 hours a day on city business. Before March 1, he gave a few hours a week to city matters.
STARTING THE PROCESS