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Flood control plan unveiled after historic June storms

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BLOOMINGTON (WEEK) - Bloomington city staffers have come up with a series of solutions, perhaps costing many millions of dollars, to prevent flooding like the kind that devastated many neighborhoods from historically heavy rain in late June.

At the same time, staffers told council members Monday night they would face possible lawsuits if they decided to make direct payments of taxpayer dollars to individual flood victims.

The council took no action Monday, but seemed to favor staff's proposals that include speeding up by three years completion of the so-called Locust-Colton project to eliminate combined sewer and storm water overflow in that neighborhood.

The city would also build a central detention basin near downtown, increase funding for overhead sewers, and implement hydraulic modeling.

"The idea that Locust-Colton is the full solution, and it's not," said Alderman Nick Becker.

"It's a big part of the solution, but the basin and other things we can do must be put together with it to get the maximum of impact," Becker said.

Another council member, Mollie Ward, had pushed for direct relief payments to flood victims, but the city attorney warned such action would risk possible lawsuits for using taxpayer money that way.

City officials listed as possible alternatives several agencies offering assistance to homeowners.

The council could vote on staff's proposals as soon as September 27.

Howard Packowitz

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