Mayor Gahan Vetoes Fireworks Ban

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I hereby Veto recent action by the city council to ban legal fireworks in New Albany.

The proposed ban would limit the use of fireworks to only 4.5 days (107 hours) per year, without first obtaining a government permit.

The 5-4 split council vote to ban legal fireworks is an intrusion into the private lives of our citizens and could silence the joy of many important occasions, like weddings, birthdays, and holidays.

As written, the proposed ordinance is impossible to enforce and introduces confusion between New Albany police officers and the people of New Albany.

Indiana State Law has already addressed the use of fireworks in IC 22-11-14.

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Mayor Gahan Shares Information About Opioid Crisis

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Today, Mayor Gahan shared information about the opioid crisis:

Over the last few years, concerns of heavy opioid prescription use in the area prompted the City of New Albany to enter into a class action lawsuit (2017) against the major distributors of opioids. Later, the lawsuit was modified to include some major and minor retailers in and around Floyd County and beyond.

In late July, The Washington Post released a study which confirmed Floyd County, IN is one of the worst Counties in the United States for prescription opioid use.

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Link to full Washington Post Article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/dea-pain-pill-database/

47.1 Million (47,106,936 to be exact) is the number of prescription pain pills that entered Floyd County from 2006 to 2012. That is 91.6 pills per person per year. In 2016, Floyd County had the highest prescription rate for opioids (132 prescriptions per 100 residents) when compared with Clark and Harrison counties (in.gov/recovery/1054.htm).

The City of New Albany has already taken an important step by bringing legal action against the manufacturers and distributors. Floyd County officials, unfortunately, have opted to not join the lawsuit against opioid distributors. I am urging county leaders to recognize this problem and join the lawsuit. Now that we have solid data concerning the problem, we need to do more as a community.

Yesterday, an Oklahoma judge ruled that Johnson and Johnson helped fuel the state’s opioid drug crisis, and fined the company $572 million. This landmark decision is expected to have impacts on other lawsuits throughout the country, including our own.

Over the past few weeks, I have met with public and health officials, industry professionals, and attorneys, including Dr. Tom Harris with the Floyd County Health Department, Dr. Daniel Eichenberger with Baptist Health Floyd, our local public safety team, and others. I have also reached out to the head pharmacists of Walgreen’s and other local distributors.

This is a county crisis and a national epidemic, brought on by reckless distribution of opioids which possess properties that bring addiction to some of our most vulnerable family members and friends. To help bring attention to this issue, our Board of Works has approved 2 awareness walks - one in September, and one in November.

If you are suffering from addiction brought on by prescription use, please contact your physician. If someone you know is addicted to prescribed opioids please encourage them to contact their doctor or call for help. Here are some additional resources that may be of help:

Services:

Indiana Addiction Hotline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Call 2-1-1. (2-1-1 is a simple way to connect to food, shelter, and housing assistance, counseling resources, and more throughout Indiana)

Our Place Drug and Alcohol Services: https://www.ourplaceinc.org/

EVENTS:

Saturday September 14 @ 1pm - The Breakaway / Our Place: SoIN Faces of Addiction Walk in Downtown New Albany.

Saturday November 9 @ 9am – Floyd Memorial Foundation’s 3rd Annual Stop Addiction Walk at the Riverfront Amphitheater

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Stormwater Repair Underway near Industrial Park

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Crews are beginning an emergency stormwater line repair on Grant Line Road (near Barack Obama Way and Security Parkway).

A storm culvert under the roadway is in need of structural repairs, and works crews are mobilizing to begin the repair work immediately.

As much of the repairs as possible will take place during night so that traffic will not be impeded. The roadway will remain open while work is ongoing, but some lane shifts are expected.

The repair is expected to be completed within 3 weeks, weather permitting. Please be aware of work crews and cautious as you travel through this area.

Grant Line Road Contractor Fined $3000 Per Day for Missed Schedule

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The contractor completing the Grant Line Road Improvement Project is currently being fined by the city $3000 per day for failing to meet the scheduled completion date.

The contractual date for completion of the project was June 18, 2019. Beginning June 19, the city has fined the contractor $3000 per day for failing to complete the project, per contractual agreements. Starting August 18th, if the project is still not completed, fines are increased to $5000/day.

Since these fines have been initiated, the city has seen increased activity from the contractor and crews along Grant Line Road.

“We will continue to insist on a timely completion of the work, and ensure that the work is of the highest quality,” stated Mayor Jeff Gahan.

Flood Prevention Project Set to Begin

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Last year was the heaviest rainfall year on record, and things do not look to be slowing down in the upcoming years. Recent weather models predict increased rainfall over the next few decades for the Midwest.

One area of the city that is prone to flooding is the intersection of Scribner and Elm Streets, just off the I-64 exit.

Crews will begin a project on Monday (August 5th) evening that will replace the current stormwater system in that area, increasing capacity, and alleviating flooding in the area. The current stormwater system at that intersection is simply not large enough to handle the type of rains that we have been getting.

Most of the heavy work on the project is expected to be completed during night hours to avoid disruption to traffic. Some lane shifts are expected while work is ongoing. The project is expected to take three (3) weeks to complete.

“The construction site will be a little inconvenient, but the flooding will not be an issue in the future. Thanks in advance for your patience,” stated Mayor Jeff Gahan.