Tuscumbia city leaders looking into flooding solutions

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TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) -  Just when some residents in Tuscumbia thought they would never have relief from flooding issues, city council members moved forward with a grant process that will do just that.

Tuscumbia is known for its flash flooding during heavy downpours. It's a concern that's only getting worse with time and failing infrastructure. The lack of city funding has postponed the issue for years.

Monday night, the mayor and city council members asked the community for help in determining how to fix it.

Councilman Randall Davis said the meeting shows residents support moving forward on a plan hometown engineers, Kelly and Bart Taft, have been looking into.

"We've got a preliminary plan on how we may be able to address some of our worst areas," said Davis.  'But from the beginning, we knew we needed some of our community members involved."

Discussions about how much money those plans would cost were also held. The estimated cost for three major projects totaled over three million dollars.

"We're a small town, and we don't have a lot of funds. We've got to come up with a way to make that funding," Davis said.

One idea pitched was to raise utility bills by $3 to raise the necessary funds. Over the span of 20 years, that  would factor out to raise an estimated $3.2 million to fund the potential repairs.

The Richmond Hills community is one that the Tafts said does need some repairs and they said that project alone could cost the city anywhere from $500,000 to one million dollars alone. Their preliminary study also includes the Eastman Avenue area and Gayle Street.

However, some residents feel left out from the projected repair plans. Barbara Johnson said she's been trying to get some help with flooding for 43 years on Milton Street. Now, it's cost her more than time and money.

"My son passed away in May," she said. "We had brought a lot of his stuff over and put it in my husband's shop. A morjority of it got ruined because of the last flood, it's stuff I can't replace. It was sentimental stuff."

Milton was an area the Tafts saw as problem areas. However, they are first working on what council members said had the most water troubling the most neighbors.

Again, these plans are in the preliminary stages. Anything could change.

Any ideas or proposals will have to be approved by the city council before a final decision can be made. However, they will put in a pre-application for a low interest loan by the December deadline.

The city council will then hold another public hearing in April to go over the plans. If approved, they don't expect to start repairs until early 2016.