I recently completed my Report to the People sessions. Thanks to each of you who attended and gave me ideas to help build a better city.
A major challenge facing our city is flooding. I have called for action to improve our flooding and stormwater drainage problems. I am proposing a flood plan that may include the construction of flood protection projects on the St. Mary’s River, Fairfield Ditch and Spy Run Watershed. We also need a more aggressive flood buyout program. We need to address storm drainage problems and make investments in water quality upgrades to meet new federal regulations. I have appointed Greg Meszaros, Public Works and City Utilities Director and John Shoaff, City Councilman and Chair of the City Flood Committee to lead the effort to develop and present options for how to best make investments in flood protection.
The Army Corps of Engineers’ best-case timetable for improved protection on the St. Mary’s River and Fairfield Ditch is 2008. By taking more local control, we have the ability to make necessary enhancements at a much quicker pace. We have experienced two major floods on the St. Mary’s River and Fairfield Ditch in the last 18 months. There has been more than $8 million in damages. More than 500 businesses and homes have been affected. We must stop the trend of continuous flooding.
Presentations will be given to the four neighborhood area partnerships in April or May. Following the public input sessions a recommendation will be made to me and the City Council. I urge you to attend one of these presentations. It is time for the city to take more local responsibility in flood prevention. We will need your support for making the necessary investments to ensure residents and businesses are protected from flooding.
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