The North Bend Eagle

 

 

City joins interlocal agreement aiming to mitigate next flood

Nathan Arneal
Published 5/15/19

The City of North Bend has joined 11 other local bodies in an interlocal cooperation agreement to prepare for and fight off the next flood.

The group started with Fremont, Inglewood and Dodge County addressing drainage issues around Fremont, but when the March flood struck, it was decided to expand the agreement to include several other entities and more broadly address the issue of flooding in southern Dodge County.

Fremont City Administrator Brian Newton, Fremont Mayor Scott Getzschman and Dodge County Supervisor Bob Missel attended the May 7 North Bend City Council meeting to recruit North Bend into the interlocal agreement.

“If we can bring everybody together and bring the political might together,” Newton said, “maybe we can finally get something done to help us all to fight the next flood.”

Missel said there is power in numbers when trying to get something done.

“When we address the Corps of Engineers and those types of entities we have to deal with, when we come together as a collective body, we hope our voice is a little louder,” Missel said. “And in Washington, when they see this many entities coming together for a common purpose, it’s our hope that we cause them to pay attention.”

Other groups that been invited or already signed onto the agreement include the City of Fremont, Village of Inglewood, Dodge County, Lower Platte North NRD, the North Bend, Ames and Cotterell drainage districts, Elkhorn Township, Platte Township and the Lake Ventura and Timberwood sanitary and improvement districts.

Cotterell Drainage District member Chuck Emanuel said his board initially had some hesitation on funding, but it is on board.

“We definitely agree that strength in numbers is very important,” Emanuel said. “Our concern was when we first went over this agreement was, could we be stuck with funding that we aren’t capable of raising?”

Newton said any costs associated with the agreement would not be split evenly, with Fremont, the NRD and Dodge County likely providing the lion’s share of funding. Bodies not capable of raising large funds, like a drainage district, would not be stuck with bills it couldn’t pay, Newton said. Getzschman said if something only affected Fremont, it would be up to Fremont to pay for it, not the other groups in the agreement.

“On the west side of North Bend, you guys got issues as well, and that affects us (Fremont),” Getzschman said. “So we’re here to help you get your problem solved, and I think the only way we’re going to get that is in numbers.”

The new interlocal board, called the Joint Water Management Advisory Board, would be made up of 24 people, two representatives from each group signed onto the agreement. It would be an advisory board only, with all expenditures subject to approval by the individual boards part of the agreement.

Newton said the first goal of the new board would be to meet with Nebraska’s congressional representatives and get them to bring some pressure on the Army Corps of Engineers and possibly FEMA. Another priority will be applying for a $250,000 grant for a scoping study to see what needs to be done to mitigate future floods, then to go after multi-millon dollar grant to work on the projects the study identifies.

The North Bend City Council agreed to join the Joint Water Management Advisory Board without dissent.

In other council business:

• The council reviewed a letter sent by Mayor Dean Lux on behalf of the city to Dawn Bayer, manager of post office operations. The letter expressed the difficulties of people with P.O. boxes having access to their mail when it has to be picked up in Morse Bluff between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. since the flood damaged the North Bend Post Office building. The NBPO building is leased from a private individual, and the letter asked the post office to put some pressure on the building owner to get it ready for a return to normal service.

The city had not received a reply to the letter – sent May 1 – as of the May 7 council meeting.

 

<<Back to the front page