City council votes to move ahead with modified flood diversion plan
districts for 2014 paving determined
GRAFTON – With the prospect of federal funding for a flood diversion project minimal at best, the Grafton City Council decided Monday to pursue a project using state and local money that would at least reduce the flood plain status for the city.
Mayor Chris West told council members that now is the time to jump on board and take advantage of $7.2 million in state money that has been previously set aside for a flood diversion project.
West was in Bismarck last week and visited with members of the State Water Commission. He said the state is currently more willing to look at flood control, in Grafton’s case, since so many people are involved.
West said the city currently has $1 million set aside for the diversion and could come up with another $2 million in short order. Combined with state funds, that would give the city more than $10 million to work with.
Council member Dave Fellman made a motion for the council to go ahead with a “Request for Proposal” to set in motion an alternative flood diversion project for the city. That would mean hiring an engineering firm to draw up the plans.
City Administrator Nick Ziegelmann said the only flood diversion currently on the table is the plan developed by the Army Corps of Engineers. He described the Corps plan as a “Cadillac” of plans that would bring the entire city out of the flood plain.
He said with less money, the city might be able to come up with a plan that would at least change the status of the city’s flood plain which would give relief to those who have to pay flood insurance.
Fellman’s motion was seconded by Ken Gebhardt and passed a unanimous voice vote with council member Jason Degeldere absent.
2014 road projects
On recommendation from the special assessment committee, the council approved three proposals creating assessment districts for paving projects within the city that are scheduled for 2014.
The landscape for funding road work recently changed. In the past, 80 percent of road projects in the city were paid with federal road funds. Since Grafton’s population has dropped below 5,000, that money is no longer available.
With that in mind, West suggested that residents in the entire city be assessed for the projects, however in several different motions, the council decided to go with the recommendations of the special assessment committee.
The largest project is on Western Avenue between 12th and 16th streets (Paving Improvement District No. 37). Property owners along that stretch of Western Avenue and well as some adjacent property owners will share 75 percent of the cost of the project with the city picking up the other 25 percent.
Other projects include work on Lavergne Ave., North Star Drive and Lessard Ave.