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Complaint prompts discussion of drainage concerns

Monticello aldermen said they would have to research solutionsto a pair of citizen complaints brought to their attention Tuesdaynight.

Drainage of rain water in a neighborhood and complications fromthe construction of a sewage pumping station were discussed.

Milan Nelson, of Allen Circle, and another neighbor asked forthe board to help them by reopening a drainage ditch that wascausing flooding to threaten their homes.

“The big problem is that we used to have a drainage ditch thereand now we don’t,” Nelson said.

The lack of drainage causes yards in the neighborhood to pool inheavy rains and has begun threatening their homes, Nelson said.

“I can vouch for that,” Ward Five Alderman Craig “Bowie” Davissaid. “I missed the big Fourth of July flood because I was out oftown, but I saw it later and if it had rained for maybe another 45minutes more it would probably have been in the house. It really isa problem.”

Nelson said he made the mayor aware of the problem months ago,but it had not been addressed. Mayor David Nichols was not at themeeting to address the situation.

Bobby Selman, director of the town’s maintenance department,admitted there was a problem with drainage in the area, but saidthere were legal issues that needed to be resolved.

“(The ditch) is in his back yard and it’s fenced in,” he said.”There will have to be a lawyer involved.”

Government entities are not allowed to improve private property,Selman said, but he argued that if it was an old town drainageditch the town should have an easement to make repairs.

The board tabled the complaint and will instruct John Sutton,the town’s attorney, to determine if an easement exists. Itpromised to reopen the ditch should the easement be found.

The discussion was expanded by Ward One Alderman Jerry Goode,who cited other locations where more efficient drainage wasneeded.

“We’ve got some serious drainage problems,” he said.

Goode encouraged the board to consider a review of drainageproblems in their wards for a possible future project.

The board also heard a complaint from Lamar and Gloria Thames,of Rockport Avenue, regarding the construction of a sewage pumpingstation.

Construction of the station had torn up their yard and took downa fence and was supposed to be repaired, Gloria Thames said.However, the station was completed around November and nothing hasbeen done.

“We got our fence back up at our own expense,” she said.

Selman said the station had been in operation for about threemonths and did not dispute the claim. He said the grant money forthe station was intended to cover the cost of the contractorreinstalling the Thames’ fence, building a privacy fence around thestation and erecting a night light. He did not know why that hadnot been done.

However, Selman admitted the leveling of the property to repairthe yard was probably the responsibility of the town. Work in otherareas of the town, including Atwood Water Park, had kept him fromcompleting that, he said.

“They said there would be no odor, but when the wind blows theright way you know it’s there,” Gloria Thames added.

Selman said he believed the fence would help with that, but hewould ensure someone spoke with the grant administrator to see ifother measures could be taken.

Davis promised the town would uphold its end of thecontract.

“I apologize that I knew nothing about this, but it’s there inblack and white what needs to be done,” he said, waving thecontract. “This clearly states what we need to do.”