Flood repairs finally completed
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
As the Skunk River spilled over its banks on Monday night, the Henry County Conservation Board learned that the county has finally finished cleanup from the floods of 2010.
“Our closeout is finished. It has been turned in as of last week,” Conservation Director John Pullis told the board during its regular meeting.
The project was divided into two categories: Emergency protective services, such as debris removal, which cost $40,139, and repairing everything to pre-flood conditions for $76,064. Combined, this is a total of $116,203, but the county will be reimbursed for most of this amount by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency).
“We’ll be reimbursed almost $99,000,” said Pullis. “So out of $116,000 to 117,000, our county share was about $17,000.”
The county has already received reimbursement for the emergency protective services, but it is still waiting for the second reimbursement, which Pullis said he hopes will come in less than a year.
“When we have a disaster down here, it’s easy to say let’s just gather a few volunteers and put things back together, which we could do,” commented Pullis. “That’s a hefty price tag the county would have to cover, even if we just got volunteers together ad opened up again.”
In other business, the board considered a request for a disc golf tournament to be held.
Normally the board does not need to approve tournaments, but Pullis brought this request before the board because the disc golf group would like to have a food vendor at the tournament.
State law does not allow solicitation in the parks, but the conservation board can give special permission, noted Pullis.
Pullis explained that the disc golf group is not looking to profit from the tournament.
“None of them will be making money from this. It will be going back into prizes and gift bags for the tournament itself,” said Pullis. “The people putting it on are not taking money from it.”
“Except for the vendor,” noted board member Jim Onorato.
Onorato pointed out that allowing the food vendor would be setting a precedent, which Board President Sara Borders also commented on.
“What goes through my mind is eventually when the equestrian stuff is set up and they want to do it and have a vendor and do a fundraiser for their stuff,” said Borders.
However, Borders said she thought the board should allow the group to have the vendor.
“If we say no, it will be pretty easy for them to go out to East Lake,” said Borders. “The whole idea is bringing people here.”
The board decided to allow the food vendor, as long as the profits were donated to either the disc golf group or another non-profit organization.
During the public forum portion of the meeting, rural Mt. Pleasant resident Steve Wilson asked to be put on the agenda for the April meeting to discuss the seasonal flights of snow geese, especially the low numbers seen in the fall.
“It’s wonderful what we see in the spring, but it’s tragic what we see in the fall,” said Wilson.
Wilson said he had gathered information, which he would like to present to the board at the next meeting.
The conservation board will next meet at 5:30 p.m. on April 8 at the Conservation Department office.