Will flood of protest stop program?
September 2, 2016
This month, Douglas County will be hosting a half-dozen meetings across the county to share with residents plans for a storm-water management program.
Fully funding a storm water management program would run Douglas County residents about $2 million, which was pretty close to the price of one summer's flooding to just public property. We've never seen an estimate for the private damage.
To come up with that amount of money from the present Douglas budget would cost 4 percent of the budget in existing programs and staffing or an 8.57-cent property tax increase.
Last month, county commissioners discussed the potential outcry of any effort to increase taxes to implement the program.
At that meeting, outgoing county commission Chairman Doug Johnson expressed concern that the program might end up the same way as it did in 2009.
The county rejected the plan after residents filled commission chambers in opposition.
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It has been our contention that residents of some of the places hardest hit by flooding wouldn't vote to increase a tax if the water was flowing through their neighborhood on Election Day.
With a lawsuit pending against the county, it might not even be up to commissioners to do something with storm water.
It wouldn't be the first time a higher authority has ordered the county to bond for an improvement.
Barring legal fiat, that leaves the county to find a way to cut a 25th of its budget to fund the program or ride out the next wave of flooding and hope for the best.