Sv Council Defers Decision On Floodwater Mitigation Money

Councilors wait to see if they will get $120,000 grant for project

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Every year, several Star Valley residents watch a little bit more of their yard wash away with the floodwaters.

Dan Bowman said he has already lost four feet of his yard and his neighbor, 10.

But Bowman and others will have to wait a little bit longer before they find out if the town will fund three crossings that could help mitigate floodwaters.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, Mayor Bill Rappaport suggested the council wait to vote on the issue until they find out from the Department of Housing if they will receive a $120,000 grant that would partly fund a design study and construction costs of a crossing at Valley Road.

The council agreed and tabled the item to Jan. 26.

This is the second time the council has postponed a decision on this issue, which involves contracting with engineering firm Mountain Standard Inc. to design three, storm water drainage passages. The cost of designing the crossings at Valley Road and Goat Camp Wash, Sprague Ranch Road and Houston Creek, and Old Moonlight Drive and Houston Creek is nearly $100,000 and does not include construction.

The town is expecting to get a $120,000 grant to cover the $170,000 crossing at Valley Road, but has not received confirmation yet.

The town would likely pay for the other two projects if approved.

This has Bowman concerned the town will decide not to fund the projects because of cost.

“It has been three years and nothing has been done,” he said. “It is always this cost thing. Do we have to wait until someone’s home falls into the creek?”

Bowman added he was frustrated to see that Town Manager Tim Grier recently got a raise when those funds could have been appropriated for more pressing matters.

“What bothers me most is when I see people getting raises that could have been used to save a home,” he said. “We are no better off than when we were in the county.”

Also at the meeting, the council decided to hold off on another engineering study, this one for detention basins, because the town is in talks with Payson for a joint project.

Councilor Vern Leis explained Payson is in the middle of a study exploring the possibility of putting extra water from the Blue Ridge pipeline back into the ground.

They have “an excess of water from Blue Ridge above and beyond the usable amount and they are looking for ways to not lose it,” Leis said.

Another possibility is putting the extra water in percolation ponds or basins, possibly in or near the Star Valley town limits.

“It is still under study, but we could be a part of it,” he said. “We should wait for their study to finish before spending more money.”

Star Valley has a bid from Mountain Standard for a $5,000 engineering study that would evaluate installing two detention basins near Houston Creek, Mayfield Canyon or Schoolhouse Canyon.

If Star Valley enters into an intergovernmental agreement with Payson, that study may not be needed.

In other council news, the Jan. 19 council meeting was rescheduled to Jan. 26. Tetra Tech hydrologist Teresa Harris is expected to discuss a new well monitoring contract at that meeting.

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