Legislation authored by State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, to solve the
problem of flooding on the Little Calumet River was signed into law by Gov.
Little Calumet floods have caused millions of dollars in damage to property.
As flood disasters continue, some Lake County residents have seen a rise in
their flood insurance rates. Under House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1264, property
owners in the flood zone will contribute to rebuild and repair the levees
that protect against flooding.
“Flooding in the Little Calumet River Basin has been a persistent, expensive
problem for Lake county residents,” said Soliday. “This legislation will
bring desperately needed flood relief, helping protect homes and businesses
from frequent flood disasters. This is a major step towards reining in
insurance rates, as well as removing the huge financial burden floods place
on local communities.”
Under the provisions of HEA 1264, the Little Calumet River Basin Development
Commission is responsible for managing the flood control efforts. In
addition to the appointments made to the Commission by the Governor, the
bill expands to give more local control.
The commission will be expanded from five to nine members with one
nomination made by the mayor of Gary, one by the mayor of Hammond, and two
by the Lake County commissioners. Each member must have experience in a
field related to flood control, construction, or project management.
To fund flood control efforts, each property owner who pays property taxes
will make an additional payment. Residential properties will pay $45 per
parcel, $90 for agricultural, $180 for commercial, and $360 for industrial
and utility. An estimated $7.3 million will be available each year to use
for the operation, repair, and maintenance of flood control systems.
To ensure every community has its voice heard, the legislation also
establishes the Little Calumet River Basin Project Advisory Board. The board
will be comprised of members appointed by the executives of each municipally
in the watershed. The county commissioners also appoint one member. To
qualify, each member of the advisory board must have experience in
designing, constructing, maintaining, or managing drainage or flood control
facilities in the watershed.
“We’ve worked hard to make sure all the stakeholders will be involved,” said
Soliday. “State lawmakers and local officials from both parties have come
together to the benefit of every property owner in the Little Cal
HEA 1264 will go into effect July 1, 2012.