By Naomi Hatch
“Since this flood, we have done absolutely zero, nothing to mitigate it,” said Taylor Town Engineer Stu Spaulding last week as he held a picture of a flooded town hall.
Spaulding explained that for the past five years, the town council worked on getting land from the State Land Department, but noted, “Almost nothing’s been accomplished.”
The estimate for building a detention basin was $750,000, plus $250,000 for engineering. To date the town has spent $75,000 and doesn’t own the land yet.
Spaulding showed on a map what was being proposed, which was using land that the town owned and thus saving money. The land is a triangle piece next to the airport that has about 12 acres, of which about seven might be usable.
The engineer noted that the land is zoned industrial, but is all in the floodplain.
“What we would do is dig a hole and the water would go into it when a flood came, and after the flood we would pump it downstream,” said Spaulding.
The project would be designed in-house, saving $250,000 in engineering, and they already have a topographical survey.
Spaulding asked the council to approve the detention basin.
“What do you think, Shawn?” asked Mayor Fay Hatch.
“It’s a great idea, it’s a great thing,” responded Councilman Shawn Palmer, who then questioned Spaulding using the word “pumped,” and asked if that was what he meant to say.
Spaulding explained that he and Phil Stratton met that morning and they believe that purchasing a pump would cost less than running pipe, but noted that they hadn’t yet done any calculations.
“There may be a perception out there that building this will have an impact on flood insurance in this area,” said Town Manager Gus Lundberg, who then asked Spaulding to explain the situation.
Spaulding told those attending the April 3 town council meeting that if engineers proved this would handle a 100-year flood, they have to get a return period, a return to the condition before the flood. “We believe we can get enough detention to prove that we won’t flood the homes, but in order to get a CLOMAR (Conditional Letter of Map Revision through the Army Corp of Engineers), we have to prove we get a 100-year, 24-hour return period,” he said, noting that if they are familiar with Snowflake’s situation, they know it took that town a long time to get a CLOMAR.
“The manager’s right, we can’t promise we can abate their flood insurance, but we can mitigate the floods,” said Spaulding.
Councilman Gary Solomon asked if there would be any kind of spillway.
“There will be a spillway,” Spaulding replied, noting that they would use the same drainage ditch and have the road, the berm and the culvert to serve as a spillway. “Because of our unique location, we’ve got a built in spillway.”
Councilman Mark Reed was present by phone and thus couldn’t see the map, but asked about the clay soil.
“That clay is really to our advantage,” said Spaulding, as it served as a line pond.
No action was taken on the proposal.
In other business Spaulding advised the council that the last general plan was approved Dec. 10, 2003, and it should be done every five years.
“The new manager directed staff to begin working on that,” he said. “My purpose is to advise you we’re working on it, and to set a work session to talk about items such as format of the plan, our relationship with planning and zoning as we do it, what committees need to be formed, like commercial, land and utilities committees.”
Lundberg suggested they discuss this for an hour at the beginning of the April budget meeting, and the council agreed.
“We’re well into budget season and I’ve been here officially one week now,” said Lundberg of his new position. He proposed following the old council meeting schedule where they have a work session on the third Wednesday of the month for the next couple of months.
“I plan on being very open and hopeful you’ll help guide us with your input,” he said.
Mayor Fay Hatch said he thought the council candidates should be invited to these meetings.
The council then moved into an executive session to discuss and consider employment issues regarding a possible amendment to the manager’s contract.
Upon returning to regular session, Councilman Alan Ramage moved to give Lundberg three weeks vacation, reinstate his prior leave rate and approve in Section 6 “modifications to this contract must be done with the consent of both parties.” The motion passed unanimously, with Reed voting by phone.
By Naomi Hatch