Albertville residents demand help from floods

Albertvilleby Samara Postuma

Contributing Writer

Several Albertville residents attended the recent council meeting to request assistance and demand answers in regards to frequent flooding in their neighborhood. City Administrator Adam Nafstad explained to the council that Sunday, June 23, 3 to 4 inches of rain fell in a two to three hour period which created some significant flooding in the 54th Street and Industrial Boulevard area.

Though the water receded by midmorning, the damage had been done for several families who came to the meeting with photos last week.

“This is the lowest point of the watershed,” Nafstad explained to the council by highlighting a map. The city did a study to investigate a possible solution of this area and flooding in 2008 and the project was estimated to be around $500,000. The recommended improvement was to replace approximately 1,200 feet of 42-inch and 48-inch storm pipe with 60-inch storm sewer together with new storm drains at the intersection. This project is included in the City’s 5-year Capital Improvement Plan and scheduled for construction in 2014 if approved and added to the budget. “The most significant challenge with the intersection is the lack of an emergency overflow to protect homes from flooding when storm events exceed the capacity of the pipe,” Nafstad said.

“I’ve been dealing with you guys and this issue for 12 years now,” Susan Dixon told the council, through tears as she showed pictures of her vehicle post flooding and explained that she had standing water in the vehicle as well as inside of her home that morning.

“I’ve replaced my carpet four times, my garage floods each summer, I don’t know what to do because I can’t sell because no one wants a house that floods every year. My house is inhabitable and I can’t even buy flood insurance,” Dixon pleaded.

In 2011, after weeks of discussion the council approved joining the National Flood Insurance Program [NFIP] which would allow residents to purchase an optional separate policy for flooding.

The NFIP makes it more affordable for residents in mapped flood zones to purchase up to $45,000 of coverage for flooding issues. It is unknown if this residential area that was affected by the June 23 flooding was a mapped flood zone or if these residents were able to purchase coverage.

Mike and Linda Everett also attended the July 1 meeting with photos of their yard and the flooding damage. “We have to close our daycare,” Linda said. “It takes months to dry out the basement and bleach everything. We can’t have kids down there.”

“I think the city needs to do something to help us,” Mike added.

City Attorney Mike Couri explained to the council and the residents that the city can’t simply help residents in situations like this. “We only have the power legislature allows us. Public funds must be used for a public purpose not to help private citizens,” he said, further explaining that the residents could file a claim to the city’s insurance with the League of Minnesota Cities who would then apply city law to the claim.

“You are really giving us something to consider as we talk about the budget for next year,” council member John Vetsch told the residents.

“If we approve the project for the 2014 budget, the project will be done next year,” Mayor Jillian Hendrickson added, and noted that the council will begin budget talks in the next several weeks.

“The best way to advance your project is to keep communication flowing and having your voices heard,” Couri told the residents.

The council ended the discussion with the residents by agreeing to follow up as budget decisions begin to be made in the next several workshops.

In other action, the council:

RECOGNIZED the St. Michael-Albertville 7-8 Girls Lacrosse Team for being gold string champions and tying for first place.

ACCEPTED a challenge from the city of St. Michael for a bowling competition Friday, Aug. 9, at 5:30 p.m. at River Lanes.