Friday, October 01, 2010

EDITORIAL >>Flood study on hold

Sherwood choked on a gnat at its city council meeting Monday night.

The council, which didn’t bat much of an eye almost two years ago, spending $5.5 million to buy a golf course, basically said no to the city engineer’s request for $33,000 for a flood study before she makes any improvements to stop, slow or redirect the flooding from Woodruff Creek affecting homes on and around Powell Drive, Claremont Avenue, Pinto Drive and Marlar Drive.

Maybe it was because the city’s budget this year was saved by an influx of about $500,000 from North Little Rock or maybe because it was just announced that Sherwood’s retirement fund for its employees was going to be at least $4.6 million short of meeting its demands, after years of mismanagement that caused the council suddenly to become “Scrooge” and say, “Humbug!” to the engineer.

The time the council spent discussing and debating the $33,000 was equal, if not longer, to the time the council spent on the multi-million dollar pension problem.

Not only did the council put the study on hold, but by doing so, eight non-engineers on the council questioned City Engineer’s Ellen Norvell’s credentials, knowledge and recommendation.

True, the first reading of the ordinance that would have allowed the study was approved, but there were enough no votes to keep it from coming up for a second or third reading — and three approved readings are required for the ordinance to become law and the study to go forward.

By reading it just once – the issue will be back on the agenda for the November council meeting – all the council did was say to the people of the problem area that $33,000 is more important than their well-being. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain in the meantime.