ELLINWOOD — At its regular meeting on Tuesday, the Ellinwood City Council discussed the flood issues with a larger than normal crowd. It was reported that 107 homes had damage.
Council member Kathy Hines opened up the meeting. “There’s a lot of discontent about the last flood. People are concerned.”
Mayor Frank Koelsch said that he and the council rode around and looked at how water comes to Ellinwood. “It didn’t used to be a problem,” he said.
Koelsch went on to say that there needs to be an engineering study to determine how to resolve the issue.
City Administrator Bob Peter said that water comes into the city at a greater rate than it used to due to greater efficiency in farming techniques. “Everything has gotten more efficient at getting water off.
“Everybody has a suggestion,” he said. “None of us are engineers. Some say we need a flood control project. It will take an engineer to do one.
“I don’t think the citizens of Ellinwood should be responsible for water that comes in from the west,” said Peter. “We got to get answers.”
He said that he estimated that an engineering study would approximately $150,000 and that a flood control project would be in the millions. Peter also said that the city would be dealing with FEMA and the Corp of Engineers.
“M. Peter or myself did not hear from any of the County Commissioners during the flood,” said Koelsch. “However, Sherriff Bellindir, was quick to respond to my request for trustee help to fill sandbags and we received sandbags from the county thru Mr. Boeckman shortly after our request.”
A citizen in the audience said that he had heard part of the problem was that the storm drains were partially plugged.
“The storm sewers are clean,” said Peter. “Kevin (city worker) was checking every drain.”
Peter also said in retrospect that the town should have been closed off to traffic. Sight seers caused waves that caused additional damage to homes.
Peter said city crews were out by 5 a.m. that Sunday, and Koelsch reminded the audience that there was no easy fix.
Those that helped sand bag were thanked and Peter mentioned that a lot of people from out of the area helped.
In addition, the city provided dumpsters at no cost to residents with flood damage.
The council approved a decrease in the mill levy assessment to 37.244 mills for 2014 from 39.244 mills in 2013.
“The 1.3 drop in mills is attributed to the Recreation Commission passing and to an increase of valuation,” said Peter. The city will continue with operation of the recreation department until March, 2014.
The community in April voted to form a separate Recreation Commission for the city with its own ability to assess a mill levy.
Peter met with KDOT to talk about the upcoming work on U.S. Highway 56. During their discussions, the engineers said only one of the storm sewers under the highway could be enlarged due to cables and lack of depth. The highway work will include a complete rebuild.
In final business, the council:
•Approved a cereal malt beverage license for Annie Mays.
•Approved the purchase of a new police vehicle. The city’s police car was damaged with water during the flood. The city had already planned to purchase a new vehicle, but moved up the date.
•Accepted the write-off of delinquent accounts.