— Scott Rochat (@ScottRochat) March 26, 2014
From the Longmont Times-Call (Scott Rochat):
The City Council voted 7-0 Tuesday to prepare the ballot issue; the exact language will be approved at a later meeting.
“I see this bond election as vital,” Councilman Gabe Santos said.
City officials hope to make the St. Vrain River capable of holding a 100-year flood all the way through Longmont, something it has never been able to do. Before September’s flood, the St. Vrain’s maximum capacity was about 5,000 cubic feet per second; a 100-year flood carries 10,000 cfs.
That kind of carrying capacity comes with a price tag between $65 million and $80 million, public works director Dale Rademacher said. With $20 million in “flood bonds,” he said, the city could pull together a stronger local match to attract state and federal dollars.
If those bonds pass, he said, the city could put together $47.6 million itself, including:
• $8.5 million in already-approved bridge work at Main Street, Sunset Street and South Pratt Parkway.
• $7 million from the street fund (which is due to be reapproved by voters in November).
• $1.6 million in open space and water fund money.
• $500,000 from the conservation trust fund.
• A possible $10 million in “alternative project” funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, money that would normally go to re-creating the eastern stretch of the St. Vrain that could be used elsewhere if the river’s course is left alone.
Even with the bonds, that still leaves a funding gap of $17.4 million to $32.4 million. But the money can let Longmont be in a stronger position to get funds from FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers and from Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery grants. The city plans to apply for $52 million of grants from all those sources, but doesn’t expect to get everything.
“I think if we get a fraction of that, we should be happy,” Rademacher said of the FEMA grant application, a shot at a $37 million target.