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Jeffersonville mayor places hold on canal project, announces new project to fix sewage problems

by WHAS11

WHAS11.com

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 12:25 AM

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11) -- The city of Jeffersonville has sewage and drainage problems and the last Mayor planned to put a canal through town to solve some of the problem. The new Mayo Mike Moore has a different idea that he hopes will cost the city less money.

The EPA is demanding the city cut the amount of combined sewer overflow discharge into the Ohio River or the city could land in federal court for violating the Clean Water Act.

The original plan was to build a $69.7 million canal. Then, build another $30.8 million worth of conveyance interceptors. Mayor Mike Moore says what the canal would accomplish is not necessary to meet EPA standards.

In a packed meeting Thursday, he said, "So you had a $69 million canal, and you had a $30.8 million project to fix what the EPA is expecting of us. So, I don't see any need to put money out there for a $69.7 million canal. I mean, in essence, we just saw a tax savings of $69.7 million."

The canal is stalled and the interceptor project is getting moved up. Mayor Moore says funding for that project already exists under current sewage rates and won't require any tax hikes.

"We're not going to attract new businesses, we're not going to attract new families if the cost of living is so high that people can't afford to live here," said Moore.

Some people were already sold on the canal.

"I think it's an interesting idea and a new plan for the canal. However, I was really for the economic development along the canal, to bring businesses in and then pay for it through the business revenues and taxes that will come to those businesses," said attendee Mike Czape.

"I applaud the mayor for coming up with what he considers a fiscally responsible plan, but I really would like to have more of a clear vision of what is intended particularly for the downtown area," said Greg Sekula who works in downtown Jeffersonville.

A team of engineers will continue to study the canal project to decide if it really is the best and most cost effective storm water conveyance system. The other option is a million dollar park built around a two acre retention lake. But, Mayor Moore says what's important is meeting EPA standards.

For those that need more explanation or want more clarity on the plan, a public meeting will be held Wednesday Feb. 1at 6 p.m. at City Hall in room 101.

Mayor Moore says he wants these meetings to serve as an opportunity for the public to pitch him any ideas they may have.

WHAS11’s Chelsea Rabideau has the story, click on the video player above for more.
 

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