The end of the January 26 meeting at Allendale Baptist Church to address flooding and drainage concerns of residents in the Allendale-Greenbough Area told me the most. Paul Crowson, the resident who called the meeting, had talked to Jesse Gonzalez, the owner of Thunder Gun Range and told us that Gonzalez was willing to let the water come back over his property, with the ditches being within reason. John Hill Wertz and I drove the range today and Jesse had recently cleared his ditches for the water to drain. Also, the incomplete engineering study cost the taxpayers $110,000. Why was any money spent without trying first to mediate the flow of the water with all parties? Commissioner Clark has had 2 years to address this issue and couldn’t find the time to even talk to Jesse. There is truly a need to set the grades of all of the ditches, but the county should be able to do that.
I heard Commissioner Clark use his famous quote “Get in My Truck” again. Planning, or lack thereof is what has caused the majority of our road and water drainage issues in East County. If you try to build a house without a plan you’re likely to have numerous issues. If we don’t plan our county growth we’re going to continue to play catch up to fix the problems made. We drove around the neighborhood today and we could see numerous problems and possible fixes, but a plan still needs to be completed. You can’t just do without one.
There was talk about cleaning the ditches (which we found out today hasn’t been done in years) and putting in new culverts. A homeowner asked about the charges for the new culverts and was told there would be no cost to them. (Currently, the homeowner has to purchase the new culvert and then pay the county to cover it.)
When there was talk about one solution to the water flow problem it required widening ditches, yet no thought was given to the need to purchase right of way for these ditches to be widened. When I mentioned it, the engineers admitted their cost to carry out their plan did not include the purchase of the property which would likely cost more than the total for their presented project.
This drainage problem is like playing chess. Every move has a consequence. When you move one piece you have to analyze the possibilities of your opponents move. You have to do this many moves ahead of the actual move. If you clear one ditch you have to analyze what that will do, then the next, etc..
The comment was made that we’ll start with this area and then work down stream to fix those areas. (So you’ll take the water from one section and add it to another problem area first?)
The different plans varied from $500,000 to $3.1 Million, without paying for any rights of way.
It seemed to me like a song and dance. Not many questions were answered directly at the meeting, but answered all around the question. The Golden Hammer Publisher Eric Yollick’s question to Commissioner Clark was one of these.
There was a second natural creek on the map that wasn’t addressed. The engineers didn’t even look at it. Granted it was partially filled with silt but there nonetheless.
I believe these property owners can be helped. It won’t be overnight, but it shouldn’t take years either. Commissioner Clark stated that the second creek could be dug out in an afternoon, but I doubt that.
Bob Bagley is the elected Precinct 4 (East Montgomery County) Director on the Montgomery County Hospital District. He is an Air Force veteran and a longtime conservative political activist.