Trotwood’s annual State of the City address today has become the State of the City Post Tornado address, city officials said, announcing an open community forum to discuss plans to move forward after the Memorial Day tornado.
“We are doing our very best to use every forum available to us to communicate with citizens and stakeholders,” said Deputy City Manager Stephanie Kellum.
Trotwood leaders want to ensure residents know what type of help the city could get and if they are eligible for specific accommodations from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“People think FEMA is going to come in and fix everything,” said Mayor Mary McDonald. “We want to make sure residents know what they will help with.”
The event also will include representatives from Trotwood-Madison Schools who are concerned about school enrollment in the aftermath of the tornado.
According to district officials, about 360 students were displaced by the tornado, which is about the size of an elementary school.
“We want to make sure we get as many of our students back to school as we can and need to know everyone’s locations to come up with a feasible plan,” Superintendent Tyrone Olverson said in a Facebook post Friday.
The forum will be held at the Trotwood Community and Cultural Arts Center on Lake Center Drive at 6 p.m.
Update will include:
— The number of structures that have been damaged
— The impact of the tornado on student enrollment and the schools are doing to maintain contact with parents and students
— Call volume reports from first responders
— Public Works reports on debris removal and the status of volunteer services
— County and regional reports from the Emergency Management Agency (EMA), Ohio Emergency Management and Job and Family Services
Governor Mike DeWine asked for federal help from FEMA and President Donald Trump after DeWine visited areas affected by the Memorial Day tornadoes.
The city is doing well in recovery efforts, Kellum said. The debris in most residential areas has been removed. Power is back on for most of the residents, except 150 homes with damaged meters that Dayton Power and Light still must work to restore.
All the roads are reopened, and Trotwood business have reopened, according to Kellum.
Officials will have handout available for everyone who attends to ensure residents are aware of the services available for them.
“We have a lot of resources available for the community that are free, and we want them to take advantage of that,” McDonald said. “We will have forms available for residents to fill out if they have specific needs.”
The other representatives in attendance will be School Board President Denise Moore, Montgomery County Job and Family Services and all of the city’s elected officials plus the police, fire, and public works departments.
“We want to remind citizens that they may call 1-800-451-1954 if they need assistance with debris removal from the tornado,” Kellum said. “Also, they may call Rumpke for debris/bulk pickup at 1-800-828-8171.”
Residents can call the city at 937-837-7771 or visit their Facebook page for more updates on relief and help.
The issue of school enrollment was discussed at a Thursday night school board meeting, and members will address it at the forum today.
Many residents are worried students who were affected will not return.
“We know so many of our families in the district have been displaced by the recent tornado,” Olverson said.
The district wants to make sure that every student stays enrolled in the district.
School officials won’t know how many displaced students will return until sometime in July, according to officials.
Enrollment will affect the district’s state funding, staffing needs and use of buildings. It’s another challenge for a district that just last year faced the prospect of state takeover because of performance issues.
Trotwood-Madison does have open enrollment and hopes those families who were displaced still chose to send their children to school within the district even if they have moved to temporary housing in another city.
County’s long-term plan
Montgomery County EMA Director Jeff Jordan will be at the forum to discuss recovery operations. He will talk about the long-term recovery phase, which is the longest after a disaster.
The county plans to identify families and individuals who still need health care, including mental health and disability services; affordable and accessible housing; employment, and other basic human needs.
Jordan has been behind the scenes in the greater Dayton communities to keep these efforts moving forward.
“The saying ‘it takes a village’ is absolutely true when dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster. Montgomery County is teaming up with other representatives from government, business, faith-based, non-profit, and other organizations to develop a county-wide, long-term recovery effort,” said Jordan.
The county has partnered with 12 groups and organizations on long-term recovery operations.
“We understand that this will be a long-term recovery,” said Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman. “We are committed to an ongoing effort to ensure the deserving people in our community get the help and care they need.”
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