Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What's on the Council Agenda for 6/14/16: Flood wall, and other amendments to the CIB

Tonight's council meeting is a special "adjourned" meeting related to the need to pass the budget by July 1.  So that the capital improvements budget may pass at the June 21st meeting, amendments to the CIB will be considered tonight.

Only bills on Third Reading are on the agenda.  To get your own copy of the agenda, follow this link.  To see the amendments that have been filed to amend the CIB follow this link. There is no separate staff analysis, but the bills on the agenda were on the analysis of the June  7th meeting and you can get it at  this link. The only important item on the agenda is the ClB.

The Capital Improvements budget is not really a budget and it appropriates no money.  It is a planning document that list proposed capital spending projects and list the proposed funding to fund the projects.  Many items make it into the CIB but never get funded or built.  If a project is not in the CIB it does not get built. If you have a special project you are concerned about you may want to read the CIB and make sure it is in the budget, however it is unlikely you could do anything to get it added this year.

The most controversial item of the evening will be an amendment by Councilman Bob Mendes to remove from the CIB, the $110 million proposed flood wall. Last year, the proposal to build the wall was defeated by one vote.  Mayor Barry has included in this year's CIB. As a council member in 2015, Barry voted in favor of the wall when it was before the Council.

The 2010 flood of Nashville produced 2 billion dollars in damages, however it was not all downtown.  The wall would only protect downtown but everyone would pay for it by an additional fee added to their water bill.  The 2010 flood was considered a "1000-year flood" meaning the likelihood of such a flood occurring is only once in a thousand years.

The wall would consist of supports, (fence post) permanently in place and in the event of a flood, large slats would be placed in the grooves in the supports, creating the wall.  In essence the wall would be constructed when a flood was approaching.

Assume 75 years from now we have another 1000-year flood.  Am I the only one that things the wall may not work.  Due to road or subway or other construction, some of the supports would have been removed and not replaced or a slight settling of the earth no longer make the pieces fit or proper training  has not taken place and pubic works no longer knows how to make the pieces fit or the wall or some of the slats where relocated and no one knows where they are.  I don't think this is far-fetched.  Government is not even very good at maintaining things used every day.  I am just not confident that something that may never be used will be properly maintained.

In addition to thinking it is difficult to plan for such a system and doubt that it will work when needed, I would assume that protecting down town will cause worse flooding elsewhere.  If water cannot flow into downtown, will it not force more water into east Nashville?  The water has to go somewhere.

This amendment to remove the flood wall from the CIB will be the first continuous issue Mayor Barry has had before the Council.

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