Proposed budget includes money to reduce flooding

Published 10:02 am Thursday, November 12, 2015

The preliminary 2016 Albert Lea city budget includes an approximate 36 percent increase for storm drainage to help ease flooding and increase water quality, according to Steven Jahnke, Albert Lea city engineer.

The department’s 2016 budget of $399,580 includes $50,000 for a rain garden just east of the intersection of Garden Road and The Fairway. A rain garden is a planted depression or a hole that allows rainwater runoff from roofs, driveways, walkways and parking lots, Jahnke said.

Steven Jahnke

Steven Jahnke

Rain gardens are meant to improve water quality and reduce pollution in bodies of water.

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Jahnke hopes the project will be completed in summer 2016. The city is planning on working with the Shell Rock River Watershed District on the project, City Manager Chad Adams said.

The department also requested $50,000 to study options to reduce flooding at Fifth Street and Virginia Place.

“Anything we can  do to reduce the amount of time that area floods would be an advantage,” Jahnke said.

The department’s 2015 adopted budget was $294,743.

The preliminary budget also includes $50,000 for replacing a pump at the Spark Avenue storm lift station.

Jahnke anticipates more stormwater projects will take place in the coming years and said Minnesota Pollution Control Agency standards are becoming tougher.

Presentations and work sessions are being held in relation to the budget. The budget and final levy are planned for adoption Dec. 14.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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