Over a strong objection by one council member, the City Council on Tuesday agreed to pay up to $16,000 as its portion of engineering studies on two flood-control projects in the city.
Councilman Kent Lindsay objected, saying that Davis County has assumed responsibility for flood control and the city shouldn't have to pay anything. And, he said, neither of the two projects addresses the major hazard in the city.At issue are studies of flood and debris flow mitigation measures needed for Ricks Creek and Parrish Creek, on the city's east side.
A federal study done to determine flood plain designations and insurance rates has targeted five canyons above Centerville as potentially hazardous: Lone Pine, Barnard, Ricks, Parrish and Deuel canyons.
The city, aided by the county public works and flood control department, is appealing the designations and, according to city engineer Fred Campbell, has already presented data that lessen the impact of the federal study on Lone Pine, Ricks and Parrish canyons.
According to the study by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the debris flow hazards from Ricks, Parrish and Deuel creek canyons remain high and debris basins built by the county after the 1983 floods are inadequate.
The study will be used to determine potential hazards in the path of flows out of the canyons and to set rates for federally subsidized insurance available to homeowners.
The county has determined it will take another $30,000 to improve the Ricks Creek drainage and up to $130,000 to improve the Parrish Creek channel. Mitigation work on Deuel Creek, which the FEMA study determined has the highest hazard potential, could cost up to $1.2 million.
But $12 million in bond funds the county raised after the 1983-84 floods has been spent, and there's no more money available for new projects.
That angers Lindsay, who charged that the big cities got the big bucks and "little old podunk Centerville is sitting out here with nothing."
The county spent millions on flood channels through Bountiful, lining them with concrete and fencing them, Lindsay said, and now it's telling Centerville there's nothing left over.
"I feel the county is giving the city the shaft," he said. "They're trying to coerce us. It just galls me. The county should stop trying to squeeze us like a lemon."
The county voluntarily assumed responsibility for flood control, imposing the $12 million in bonds, Lindsay said, but is now asking individual cities to contribute more money because the bond funds are gone, spent on projects in big cities.
Campbell defended the county, saying he's been trying to work with FEMA for three to four years, getting nowhere. But county officials, using data they developed, have been able to negotiate successfully with the federal agency, he said.
Hazard ratings for Lone Pine, Ricks and Parrish canyons have already been reduced, using county data, Campbell said, calling the data FEMA used for its ratings "just garbage."
That will leave mitigation work to be done on Barnard and Deuel creeks, Campbell told the council, for which the city will need to cooperate with, not anger, the county.
"Maybe the city didn't get its share of the county flood control money. But now we need to deal with them," Campbell advised the council.
Lindsay argued that by contributing 10 percent of the cost, the city is setting a precedent. If the Deuel Creek project eventually costs $1.5 million, the county could ask Centerville "to cough up $150,000. And we don't have that kind of money," Lindsay said.
The council eventually agreed to donate $16,000 for the two projects out of next year's budget, stipulating it be used for engineering studies in the continuing appeal of the FEMA ratings.