Monday, October 05, 2015

Counting the ways -- that stop signs can be used as storm water grates?

If we've spent $6 million to prevent flooding, and flooding still occurs, is the price of admission to the water park higher on weekdays for out-of-state guests, or less on weekends during the blue light special?

What if you drink five Bud Light Limes first?

Then what?

How many additional alco-pops does it take before we reach "fundamentally better"?

Sewers are one side of the coin, and stormwater the other. Thanks to pro-active sewer rate increases during the third England term, which were opposed by then-councilman Gahan, the now-mayor Gahan takes credit for progress in the sewer utility -- which means it's time to give back to the ratepayers with a reduction in sewer rates, even if only a symbolic one.

However, it makes little sense to declare sewer "victory" when stormwater is in shambles and getting worse. As Bluegill recently noted:

It's a system that many around the city, who still experience regularly flooded streets and homes, can tell you is failing and not being adequately addressed. Given it's riverside location, New Albany is part of a massive drainage basin for the region, so I'd immediately start with cleaning up and maintaining our much neglected natural waterways, including putting a check on development patterns that block and otherwise obstruct them. Once they're properly functioning again, we can address the man made portions of the system that are still an obvious problem.

Plainly, the original stormwater master plan has been cut, pasted and abridged numerous times for short-term political motivations, as when then-councilman Gahan jumped the master plan's prioritization queue to have massive engineering work done in his own 6th district.

It's long past time to revisit the stormwater master plan, and conduct an audit of what's being done and what isn't.

As currently constituted, New Albany's stormwater control regime is a top-down, fee-based and expensive ongoing engineering project that utterly lacks citizen input. In fact, nothing at all is expected of residents, some of whom might be motivated to some degree by carrots and sticks with respect to the installation of rain barrels, or matching grants for restoring permeable surfaces.

There are many examples nationwide of small efforts over a larger area combining to help alleviate drainage problems. These begin with city government's willingness to engage with ordinary people, and to make all of us part of the solution, which of course includes engineering according to a science-based plan -- not a politically-based one.

Either that, or it's more of those $6 million stop sign plugs.

1 comment:

ecology warrior said...

As the first Chairman of the Stormwater Board, we had it going in the right direction. You summed it up Roger. Gahan has destroyed all we created as a solid foundation, nuff said.