By BRADEN LAMMERS
A resolution tabled by the Jeffersonville City Council six times will again come before the city’s fiscal body.
The Jeffersonville-Clarksville Flood Control District has been seeking a $7.5 million bond to repair the Cane Run and Mill Creek pump stations, but action on seeking the bond has been on hold since February.
The city council has asked Mayor Mike Moore to come to a council meeting and explain his vote against seeking the bond that he made at an August flood control district meeting before they approve a resolution to seek the money. After requests were made to attend several meetings, Moore attended a February city council meeting to answer questions, but they were never asked. Moore left the meeting before the agenda reached the mayor’s comment section, and City Council President Connie Sellers refused to hear Moore’s comments until they reached his portion of the agenda.
Throughout the mayor and council’s back-and-forth, a watershed study was being conducted to help answer specifics on what should be done to repair or replace the two pump stations. The watershed study was going to help determine the design of the pump stations, answer which homes will be affected by the work to the pump stations and would offer an estimate of the costs to seek the bond to those homeowners affected.
Questions that were to be answered by the stormwater study were how deep to place the pumps that will help mitigate flooding and how big the pumps should be to handle flooding concerns.
The need to repair the two pump stations became more evident after flooding in April 2011, but it has been a project that has been discussed since the 1960s.
With the watershed study returned, some answers were revealed Monday. One change in the project is that only the Cane Run pump station will be repaired.
“The watershed study kind of revealed that Cane Run was the point that we needed to address, as opposed to Mill Creek,” said Tim Hauber, Clarksville town councilman and joint flood control board member.
He said in order to fix the Mill Creek pump station, the flood control district would eventually have to seek another bond. When that will take place, however, is unknown.
“It doesn’t have to happen quickly right now,” Hauber said. “If we tried to do them both, we’d have to do a referendum.”
Clarksville Stormwater Director Tom Clevidence agreed.
“The effects of flooding along Mill Creek are not as immediate and as far-reaching as the Cane Run Creek,” he said.
The plan determined would be to lower the Cane Run pump station 3 to 6 feet, which will provide some relief to flooding in the area, said Jorge Lanz, president of Jacobi, Toombs and Lanz, Inc.
The Clarksville Town Council approved its resolution to allow the joint flood control district to seek the bond at its meeting Monday.
Part of the plan that has also been a point of contention between Moore and the council is the installation of a retention pond near Eighth Street and Indiana Avenue. The retention pond would direct water to the 10th Street pump station, or it would overflow into Cane Run.
“Our position is ... this does not take care of the entire problem, but it certainly would help,” Lanz said. “All of that runoff, and let’s face it, some combined sewage that was stored on top of the streets would have been stored in the pond. I think it would definitely improve,” Lanz said of the flooding Wednesday.
With the heavy rains Wednesday, Moore again raised calls to see the retention pond get built at the city’s redevelopment commission meeting.
The redevelopment commission agreed to send a letter to the Jeffersonville city council asking them to support getting started on a drainage pond near Indiana and Ohio avenues and Seventh Street, but not without debate.
At least two members of the redevelopment commission spoke out against having the redevelopment commission fund the retention basin with tax-increment financing money.
“I have no problem with supporting corrections downtown, it doesn’t belong at this table,” said Redevelopment Commissioner James Lake. “It’s a drainage board issue, the drainage board needs to address it.”
But Moore argued that the retention basin does affect redevelopment in Jeffersonville.
“It’s going to have a huge impact on tax dollars coming into the city of Jeffersonville,” he said. “I don’t know how anybody on this board can ignore the significance of what the downtown flooding has done to the businesses in downtown Jeff. I think it is shameful that the residents’ needs are being ignored for political games here. To say the drainage problems down there have nothing to do with redevelopment is a ludicrous statement.”
Redevelopment Commissioner Rob Stevens agreed with Lake and said it was a drainage issue.
“I don’t want anybody’s home to flood ... but I still don’t think that’s a redevelopment project,” he said. “I’m not playing a game, I just don’t think it is.”
The redevelopment commission agreed to send the letter by a vote of 3-2, with Lake and Stevens voting against,
A joint meeting will be held between the city council and the joint flood control board at 6 p.m. Monday, July 1, in the mayor’s conference room in Jeffersonville City Hall, 500 Quartermaster Court.