The Porter County
Storm Water Management Board approved at its meeting Tuesday $13,182.50 in
claims for emergency response to a “flood of record,” with more claims
expected to come.
Novotney brought the claims for work done by his department before the
Board. He said, “This was a flood of record, just looking back at the USGS
gauges.” The Kankakee River topped record flood stage heights in excess of
13 feet at several gauges across Lake and Porter counties.
Novotney said the
gauge near Ind. 49 didn’t show a record level but only because “The river
broke out of its banks in a couple places.”
The damage includes
ditch bank erosion, culvert washouts, and washouts on the banks of the
Kankakee and on several ditches fed by it. One bridge is in complete
failure, and another has significant scour damage.
that 10 emergency repair projects have been completed and a lot of work is
ahead for his department, both assessing remaining damage and making
repairs: “We’ve still got spring rains ahead of us, so our mission is to do
what we can to patch up what we’ve seen and get the infrastructure back in
working position before the rainy season begins.”
departments went smoothly as everyone worked to respond to the flooding,
according to Novotney, and he especially thanked Emergency Management
Director Lance Bella and the EMA staff. Commissioners Jeff Good, R-Center,
and Laura Blaney, D-South, said this flooding event was a reality check. “I
learned quite a few things in this event. I think we all have, and we’ll be
better prepared next time,” Good said. Blaney said, “Everybody came together
and did a great job,” and Good agreed.
The $13,182.50 in
claims were: $6,800 for Ludington Ditch, $412.50 for Cobb Ditch, $420 for
Cook-Dahl Ditch, $2,190 for Marble-Powers Ditch, and $3,360 for Phillips
In other business,
the Board approved reductions in stormwater system fees for two new parcels
acquired by Shirley Heinze Land Trust.
There are plans to
build a public kayak launch on the first parcel, south of Brummit Elementary
School on Temper Ditch. However, that parcel isn’t connected to any of the
Trust’s active preserves, and Novotney said public access must be improved
before the conservation stormwater system fee rate of $1.40 per acre per
year applies. He recommended switching to the agricultural rate of $2.75 per
acre per year as a compromise--a move that will reduce Shirley Heinz’s
current rate by about half.
Novotney said the
County has given similar compromises to organizations like the Izaak Walton
League in the past. “Once they add signage and have more regular public
access, they can come back and request that fully reduced rate,” he added.
The second new
parcel is an addition to the Trust’s Meadowbrook Nature Preserve, for which
the conservation rate was previously acquired. Novotney recommended and the
Board approved applying the conservation rate to the new addition.
The Board also
renewed its annual maintenance services agreement with Satoski Brothers.