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Librarian Day in the Life #2

Today I was back in code enforcement answering phones, so rather than trying to explain all the intricacies of working in a city department dealing primarily in flood reconstruction, here's a list of the calls I answered today, and the things I did between calls to keep busy.

  • We had some more new people in to work today, and apparently the temps who have been working in this office since the flood are apparently being let go, likely so city departments that need to find jobs for their employees have some place to send them.

  • Talked to one of the volunteer coordinators to dispel the myth that flood victims will be fined for not mowing their lawns (I know the city's reputation isn't great, but I can't believe people would think we're that petty).

  • a couple from Czech Village wanted to know if it was worth rebuilding their house because they heard a rumor that their whole neighborhood was going to become a park. Since it sounded like their house wasn't terribly damaged, I pointed out to them that any buyout program would be completely voluntary, so if they wanted to rebuild their house, the city wasn't going to stop them.

  • There were several calls for the building inspectors during their office hour (8-9AM) before they head out for morning inspections.

  • a few questions about getting mold/air quality/moisture level tests, which are being done by Linn County Public Health, so a lot of me giving out the same phone number repeatedly

  • during my morning break I got a chance to catch up with one of my fellow librarians, and the need to spend some time from Cedar Rapids came up. I just got back from a long weekend in Chicago and she's getting ready for a week out of town with her family as well. Luckily, we both seem to be in the stressed but hopeful group, instead of the stressed & disgruntled group that other library employees are in.

  • a few calls to set up non-flood related inspections for deck footings.

  • a few homeowners called in unsure of what they needed to do to repair their flood damaged homes (6 weeks after the original flood).

  • In between calls I read through the mold remediation packets on

  • there were a couple questions from people planning to buy flood damaged properties, mostly wondering if they'd be able to rebuild and if there was anything special they needed to worry about buying properties in the flood affected areas.

  • man with old home that need the color of his house's placard changed, because there were so many things that would have to be brought up to code if his house were to be repaired, especially with the foundation.

  • received a new handout on the Hazards Mitigation Program (the federal and state buyout program that's in it's very early stages) which has been coming in helpful with all the people calling in impatient for the city to buy them out. It was good to have something concrete to tell them that any buyout program won't be finalized until at least the later parts of this year and that the city is not recommending anyone depend on a buyout.

  • several questions about the new 100 and 500 Year Flood Plans FEMA is currently working on; this was on the news last night, so everyone wants to know if this is going to affect their rebuilding, the answer is no, because 1) the new plan won't be finalized for quite some time (a few years, most likely) 2) FEMA is the one redrawing the boundaries, so the city has no direct knowledge of what the new boundaries will even be

  • After a question about why a non-flood affected house was being sold so cheaply, I spent quite awhile looking up all the houses on my block at the city assessor's site. Sometimes it's fun to be snoopy.

  • There were a few calls for people setting up electrical inspections, or calling back to check on why Alliant hadn't turned their power on yet.

  • One lady had a building with roof that she had been arguing with insurance about before the flood and now she can't pull permits to fix flood damage until the issue with the roof is resolved. I think I ended up sending her to the voicemail of the building inspector she'd worked with previously, but I think mostly she just needed to talk her problem out with someone.

  • a couple out of state contractors called in with questions about getting registered to work in the city (my time in contractor registration really came in handy there)

  • owner trying to figure out why the placard on their door (red - do not enter - structural damage) didn't match what he was told he was supposed to have and what we had in our database (yellow - enter with caution - no structural damage)

  • a few homeowners with questions about temporary occupancy (currently we aren't signing off on anymore house as completely safe to reenter and reoccupy, but we are allowing temporary occupancy to those who get their mold and muck cleaned up as well as their electricity and water hooked up)
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