Mayor Chris Beutler today said passage of a proposed stormwater bond issue would fulfill the City's duty to protect the health, welfare and safety of citizens. The City Council will hold a public hearing and take a vote Monday on the proposal to place the stormwater bond issue on the May 10 ballot. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 555 S. 10th St.
Mayor Beutler made the comments at Road Builders at 56th and Fletcher. Employees there and at the nearby Lincoln Tool and Design regularly face flooding because the Salt Creek tributary that runs just east of the businesses can no longer effectively handle the stormwater runoff. To protect itself again further loss, Road Builders has installed metal paneling on the bottom of its inside walls, has raised its supply shelves and has removed items from bottom drawers.
"The stormwater bond is our commitment as a community to our neighbors," Beutler said. "No home or business in Lincoln should face the consequences being faced by the employees in this industrial area. By placing this issue on the ballot, Lincoln's voters can decide for themselves whether or not to devote about $6 a year to keeping their neighbors safe and their water clean." New figures indicate that the $9.8 million bond issue would cost the owner of a $150,000 home just over $6 a year. (Last week's news release put the figure at $7.50 a year.)
Most of the funding would be used for projects to protect property from stormwater runoff and flood damage, to improve water quality and to prevent or repair failing stream banks. The projects are identified in the City's Watershed Management Capital Improvement Program and are on a current priority list of storm drainage needs. The projects would be completed over the next two to three years.
The Mayor said facilities in the 56th and Fletcher area met the stormwater requirements when they were built, but the stormwater infrastructure is no longer adequate to protect the businesses. The project in the area will cost about $3.2 million, but 85 percent of the cost would be covered by the federal government and the Natural Resources District. The Mayor said it's one of the projects where significant matching funds may be lost without the City funds provided through the stormwater bond issue.
If approved, the bond issue would fund inlet repairs City-wide as well as improvements in these areas:
About $2 million would be used to replace about 2,000 public ash trees threatened by the Emerald Ash Borer. The City has about 14,000 public ash trees. One tree can absorb about 100 gallons of rainwater.
The bond issue would also provide funding for "best management practice" projects; floodplain and flood prone area engineering and projects; street drainage projects; and preliminary engineering and projects for watershed and basin management plans.
Lincoln voters have approved all nine storm drainage bond issues on the ballot since 1990: 1991 - $5.58 million; 1995 - $4.00 million; 1997 - $8.25 million; 2001 - $7.50 million; 2003 - $10.0 million; 2005 - $9.95 million; 2007 - $8.30 million; 2010 - $8.20 million; and 2012 - $7.90 million.
More information on the stormwater system is available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: stormwater).