As the rain fell, and fell, and fell, most of last week we couldn’t help but think this couldn’t have come at a better time for those in favor of Clarksdale residents agreeing in August to pick up a hefty tab to fix our drainage and flooding issues within the city limits.
While we admit to there being some serious problems that need some well-thought-out solutions, we’re still not convinced that asking an already heavily-taxed citizenry to blindly approve a $17 million referendum that would only add to the tax bill is the answer.
While we applaud the initiative of city officials in trying to get ahead of the problem by having the Neel-Schaffer engineering firm conduct a study of our water issues here, we ask that more thought and study go into the issue.
The engineering firm unveiled a detailed study in a meeting with Clarksdale city officials in January that called for plans ranging in cost from $12 million to $16 million.
Vince Malavasi, a senior engineer with Neel-Schaffer’s Southaven office, said their recommendations originated from public hearings held last year where they heard from Clarksdale residents, who expressed concerns about the flooding of yards and homes.
“It is a lot of money,” said Malavasi, who encouraged the city to prioritize the projects they want to do first and that way they can go after alternative funding sources, such as grants and matching monies.
And that’s an approach we applaud.
We encourage city officials to offer several meetings ahead of the referendum vote that could come in August, explaining all of the different options and the price tag.
There should be real numbers provided. Real cost estimates and simplified answers on how much is the price tag and just how will we pay for it. Average Joe should know how much his tax bill would rise and Average Joe will have to consider if the cost is worth it.
As this past weekend shows, we have several trouble spots that need fixing. We applaud citizens working together and the offer of helping hands. This community does look out for one another.
And that’s something that should be duly considered when we start to talk solutions and the final bill.