By Dale Denwalt, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
The city of Enid considered a years-old flooding issue Tuesday night that affects about a dozen homeowners along Wellington Avenue.
Two homeowners on Wellington filed a claim against the city seeking thousands in damage from water that allegedly flows from city-owned land into their backyards. One claimant, at 310 Wellington, asked for $15,000 for water damage and another at 306 Wellington asked for nearly $4,000.
Enid City Commission denied both claims Tuesday upon recommendation from Oklahoma Municipal Assurance Group for several reasons, including that the major flooding event was a rare one, that the homeowners’ land slopes downward toward the homes and that the city took reasonable efforts to mitigate flooding through the creation of a land berm on the edge of its property.
Their cause may not be lost, however.
Ward 1 Commissioner Ron Janzen, who represents the neighborhood, asked that the city complete a project that could fix the problem. City Manager Eric Benson said the project, which could cost the city $350,000, can be placed on next year’s budget.
“For 10 years, this has been part of the proposed capital improvements plan, but each year it’s been rejected by the commissioners. But to solve this issue requires the complete development of the drainage basin,” Benson said. “If this issue remains a priority, in our next budget cycle, if you’ll put another half-million dollars towards it we can fix this forever.”
In 2003, the landowners along Wellington rejected a plan that would allow the city to build a drainage canal along the backside of their property in a currently undeveloped easement. That would have meant the loss of several private structures.
Benson praised the landowners as “wonderful” people who have been patient throughout the ordeal.
The city presented a resolution of thanks to Suzy Meibergen, a co-founder of Keep Enid Beautiful. She and the organization spearheaded the installation of landscaped nodes across the city, most recently at the intersection of Willow and Van Buren. Mayor Bill Shewey declared Dec. 17, 2013, as Keep Enid Beautiful Day.
“This is not the first, nor is it the last proposal that Suzy’s brought to us,” Benson said. “Thank you very much for being a contributing citizen as you are.”
The city commission approved an agreement with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway to share costs of completing a drainage improvement downstream of railway property at 411 W. Chestnut.
Bids for the project will go out in March and will be completed within six months. The cost estimate for 700 feet of storm water pipe will be $300,000.
Commissioners approved several ordinance changes to bring them in line with state rules. Some of the fines associated with the ordinances were either increased or diminished.
The city now will require scrap-metal dealers, secondhand dealers and pawnbrokers to use an online catalogue system to more easily recognize stolen goods. Thrift stores and charity shops are not considered to be affected by the new law.
The following agenda items also were approved:
• A tax levy to raise funds for a payment to Eldon R. Stephens in the amount of $40,275 as a result of a Workers Compensation Court settlement.
• Closure of a utility easement underneath the property where the former Homeland building resides, which now is populated with retail establishments.
• A resolution pledging $14,500 in cash or in-kind assistance to the Carland Group for the construction of 35 new homes in the Brookside area just west of south 30th, along Forestridge Drive.