by PJ Rooks
Following a special meeting last week, the Weston Bottoms Levee and Drainage Association will receive $20,000 from the city of Weston to help repair levee damages left behind by last summer’s extended flooding.
Although located on private property, some of the levees protect the water and sewer facilities of the city of Weston from flooding.
“It’s very vital to the city that those levees are up to par and that they are there to help protect those entities that we need,” said Weston mayor, C.R. Carter. “I think we all realize that they are important and we need to make sure that they are in good standing and can be ready to go.”
The $20,000 will be drawn from the city’s water and sewer operating funds.
Gary Anderson, WBLDA president, expressed appreciation for the city’s contribution and said that several of the 14 farmers who were affected by the flooding had, “courageously,” he said, agreed to chip in $100 per acre to help with the repairs. Fixing all of the damage, though, will likely cost more than the $300,000 the group has raised thus far (city funds included) however. Anderson said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has agreed to help pay for cleanup of debris and silt and for recent pump repairs.
As part of the requirements of applying for a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the WBLDA has also requested that the city act as its sponsoring organization and further asked if the city would consider joining the group.
Anderson said that membership from the city would increase the number of funding sources that might be able available to the group, which is currently an entirely private organization.
“If they could be part of our levee association, it would be really nice because then we would have a government tie-in and it would be easier to get money for some of this stuff,” he said.
At the special meeting, aldermen passed a motion to “approve sponsorship of the West Bottoms Levee and Drainage Association contingent on an agreement in place with the association,” meaning a consensus on a separate agreement relieving the city of the obligations required of the sponsoring organization by the terms of the NRCS grant.
Described during an earlier meeting as a “pass-through liability” by Quint Shafer, attorney for the city of Weston, the agreement between the city and the WBLDA would place back upon the shoulders of the WBDLA the requirements that the city furnish 25% of local costs as well provide construction administration and obtain any land rights or permits.
Agenda items on whether the city will join the WBLDA, sponsor the organization for its NCRS grant application, or both, have been placed on the agenda for the next regular meeting of the board of aldermen scheduled for Monday, Dec. 12.