City Drainage

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bill Dugger

Alderman hopes new year includes plan to halt floods

By Jason C. Mattox

Going into a new year, one Batesville alderman wants the city to address a lingering problem.

Ward 1 Alderman Bill Dugger began asking for a city-wide drainage plan after heavy rains in the early summer brought nearly an entire neighborhood out to complain about overflowing ditches and erosion.

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Throughout the year, the mayor and board of aldermen were asked for assistance with drainage problems by Amy Thomas, owner of Smith Cleaners, and several residents along the Sand Creek Ditch that runs through the city.

“What I want to see us do is develop an overall plan that has a map of all the ditches and drainage problems,” Dugger said. “I think all of us sitting on the board understand that the problem would be too big to fix at one time.”

Dugger said aldermen have a study on flooding areas but have not heard back from engineers.

That request was made in late summer.

“There is no way we could afford to do it all, so we are having it studied and we hope to break it down into smaller projects that can be handled over time,” he said. “We also know there is some Natural Resources Conservation Service funding available.”

Dugger said the board has heard consistent complaints about the drainage throughout the city.

“We have so many people complaining that we have to do something,” he said. “Those people deserve an answer.”

Dugger said homeowners having drainage problems should understand that the city is not legally allowed to do work on private property.

“If someone is looking to buy a house, they need to look where they are buying,” he said. “We need to require the developers to improve the ditch if they are planning to build on it.”

Dugger cited the city’s paving program as his possible model for getting drainage issues corrected.

“In past years, we have put money into the budget specifically for paving, and we go out and find the worst streets,” he said. “I think we need to do something similar with our ditches.

“This is not a quick fix,” Dugger said. “But this is something the city is going to chip away at.”

Billy Grantham, who has been working with the city on this project, is no longer employed by the city’s engineering firm Mendrop-Wages, according to a company representative.

Calls for comment on the project from Mendrop-Wages were not returned by press time.