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Avoiding a repeat of the 1985 flood

April 20, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

Imagine a repeat of the 1985 flood. It could happen if we didn't have the Elkins flood-control system.

What would you think if the federal government placed you in the flood plain and you had to try to obtain costly insurance? That, too, could happen if the Federal Emergency Management Agency alters maps as if the the flood-control system is not in place.

Within the coming weeks, Elkins City Council and the Randolph County Commission will sit down to discuss funding for the certification of the levee and flood control. The federal government is requiring a study on this process. If it's not completed, the consequence is most of the homes and businesses in the city and many on the fringe would be placed in the flood plain.

The facility itself isn't going anywhere. It still will be used for water storage and flood protection. The government just wants to make sure it's properly documented and mapped.

The city is going to ask the county that the two divide the $80,000 study cost evenly. While that may sound unfair, it isn't really. City leaders have determined that if the county doesn't pay a portion, some of that cost would be passed on to water customers. Keep in mind this means not just Elkins residents, but the thousands of others whose Public Service Districts purchase water from the city. The cost to customers wouldn't be minimal - city officials say their bills would "skyrocket."

We encourage both bodies of local government to do two things: agree to completion of the study, and supply funding in a way that will keep fees from rising for residential and commercial customers.



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