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Buyouts suggested as fix for flooding in Ferndale neighborhood

Councilman Harper said maybe Legacy funds could be used

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 10:31 am

At Tuesday night's City Council meeting Councilman Mitch Harper, R-4th, floated the idea of using Legacy funds to buy out properties in the Ferndale neighborhood in Waynedale that have problems with chronic flooding.

He said six houses in particular flood when the Fairfield Ditch overflows its banks and sewers back up, which happened last week after heavy rains.

Harper suggested that buying out those properties might be a better permanent solution than trying to fix the problem with engineering modifications.

The city has bought out other properties in flood-prone areas where engineering fixes wouldn't work, although not with Legacy funds. The Legacy Fund is money from the lease and sale of the former City Power & Light electric utility.

According to spokesman Frank Suarez, City Utilities already has a project in the works to provide relief to the flood-prone area at Dalevue Drive and Fernwood Avenue in Waynedale. A larger-capacity pipe will be built and installed next year, which should get more water out of the area. Suarez said the project is in the design phase now and will be bid in the fall.

Mayor Tom Henry is in New York until Friday so wasn't available to comment on any possible use of Legacy funds for buyouts.

Tax abatements

*Council approved a tax abatement, also called a tax phase-in, for Earth First, a waste disposal and recycling facility that has built a 20,000-square-foot transfer station building to handle recycling of construction and demolition materials as well as residential and commercial recycling. The total estimated project cost is about $3.5 million.

The company will purchase more than $600,000 in equipment to handle the recycling. The expansion will retain 27 jobs with an average salary of more than $42,000 a year and will create 14 new jobs with an average salary of more than $36,000 a year.

Earth First will save more than $158,000 on real estate property taxes over seven years and more than $24,000 in taxes on the equipment over five years.

*DKM Embroidery will get a tax abatement on its investment of about $348,000 in equipment. The investment will create eight full-time jobs with an average annual salary of about $23,000 and will retain 14 full-time jobs with an average annual salary of about $27,000.

The company will save about $9,500 in taxes over three years as a result of the abatement.