Wednesday, May 19, 2010

TOP STORY > >Cabot residents: When it rains, it floods

Leader staff writer

A Cabot couple from Autumnwood subdivision told the mayor and the city council Monday night that the drainage work the city did last year has kept water out of their home in recent months, but flooding in the past two weeks is ruining their swimming pool and destroying the comfort they should find in their home.

“You understand that our home is our solace, and when you have to sleep with one eye open every time it thunders, it’s not good,” Kim Thompson told the council.

Bobby and Kim Thompson spoke during the public-comment portion of the monthly city council meeting, saying they appreciate the fact that Mayor Eddie Joe Williams has done more than his predecessors to stop flooding in their area, but since development continues, the work so far is not enough.

The problem is much worse, they said, since the pavement was laid in a large storage facility near their home.

The couple’s flooding problems started in 2003. Water has been in their home only once, they said, but water coming across their yard like a raging river has become almost commonplace.

“I’ve come home and had dead dogs,” Bobby Thompson said.

He works with drainage systems at his job, and he told the mayor that he has studied his own drainage problem and believes a Band-Aid remedy is possible.

The mayor agreed to meet with Thompson early Tuesday morning to look at his suggested remedy.

But Williams said after the meeting that as long as Cabot continues to grow, flooding will continue to be a problem.

Historically, the city has not done as much as it should to force builders to control the runoff their developments cause.

The city requires retention ponds to hold water displaced by houses and asphalt, but they don’t work well, he said.

Quite often, work is needed outside a development to control runoff problems and developers are reluctant to enlarge ditches and culverts outside their subdivisions because the banks won’t finance the work.

“A byproduct of a community with phenomenal growth is runoff,” the mayor said.

A drainage study that was completed when Williams took office almost four years ago showed that work totaling $30 million was needed to stop Cabot’s flooding, an impossible amount for a city with an annual budget much less than one third of that amount.

The four inches of rain that fell in less than an hour on Sunday created “an unbelievable wall of water” and one of his worst days in office the mayor said.

He spent Monday touring the city and looking at flooded yards and was discouraged by what he saw.

But he said no one had reported water in their homes, and he knows that when four inches of rain falls in less than an hour, flooding is inevitable.