Letter to the Editor – Response to stormwater concerns

This is in response to Mr. Roach’s Letter to the Editor in your Jan. 4, 2017 edition.

It is admirable that Mr. Roach has visited so many homes in O’Fallon and gathered information on problems associated with Storm Water.  I only hope that Mr. Roach has also offered information to those concerned about these problems and the city’s responses.

When a development is proposed, a drainage plan is required. Those drainage plans are developed and certified by a Professional Engineer and reviewed by city personnel and independent engineers as part of the approval process. Those plans require that storm water runoff be no more than that before the development (farmland in most cases). Mr. Roach knows this.

The city is aware of the drainage problems.  The city commissioned a study several years ago, that identified drainage problem areas, the estimated remediation cost was $28M.  As a result of the study, several potential solutions were examined.  Among the funding options examined was to issue bonds (would require a vote which the council felt would fail).  Imposition of a $4 – $5 per month Storm Water Utility fee (generating about $600K per year) providing for maintenance and remediation.  If put to a referendum, it was felt the issue would fail for the same reason that the bond would fail, i.e. everyone pays and only relatively few would benefit. The path chosen was to incrementally address the problems as a system, that path is what we have been following.  Mr. Roach knows all of this.

To imply that the city has done nothing is dishonest. Several projects have been completed, some underway, and others planned. Improvements in the Engle Creek drainage, Wesley Street retention pond and culvert, Rasp Farm retention pond, and Howard Street drainage and retention area are a few.  The ongoing work on the Presidential Street area continues on a phased processed. Mr. Roach knows all of this.

The city has paid for damage related to storm water when the damage resulted from city actions or errors.  When the damages are related to either individual property owner actions or conditions prior to city involvement, the city, rightly, has not paid.  Mr. Roach knows this.

All of the information provided here was discussed in public forums and the decisions were made in public with Mr. Roach participating in many of them.

Jerry Albrecht
O’Fallon Alderman Ward 2