LCRA rep discusses flood plain hazards with city council

The Brady city council met Wednesday morning in regular session and quickly got the wheels in motion for a meeting that lasted the greater part of two hours. The meeting was first opened up to a public hearing regarding questions and comments concerning flood plain hazard mitigation as presented by Roy Sedwick of the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA). In his presentation to the council, Sedwick introduced city officials as well as local citizens in attendance to the LCRA production, “The Water Never Got This High Before.” The short film highlighted catastrophic flooding occurring across Texas over the past 100 years. Protecting lives and property from flooding in the lower Colorado River basin has become increasingly severe as a result of the rapid expansion of homes and businesses in the floodplain. This has been evidenced by devastating floods that occurred in all or part of the basin in 1991, 1997 and 1998. Unfortunately, local flood plain management efforts are sometimes ineffective due to the lack of coordination and sufficient technical support. To study ways to address these problems, the LCRA sponsored a year-long series of meetings guided by a steering committee of local government officials. Their conclusion was that regional coordination and planning was needed. In response, over 40 participating communities have joined together to create the Texas Colorado River Flood Plain Coalition. Based upon earlier recommendations made by the steering committee, the group has adopted a mission statement, goals and objectives, and a process to implement and build upon the coalition charter. The LCRA has committed to provide all necessary technical and logistical support for the effort to succeed. As a part of this process, the executive committee has directed a number of regional and technical working committees to develop recommendations on strategies to achieve coalition goals. ‘Mitigation Action Plan The Mitigation Action Plan assesses multiple hazards in the Lower Colorado River basin, potential losses from a disaster, and ideas for lessening future damages from these hazards. The plan is designed to be a tool for the TCRFC member communities to use when planning projects and to meet the newest FEMA requirements for future hazard mitigation grant program funding. Each individual jurisdiction will have separate plans that “roll up” into a basin-wide plan. After each jurisdiction’s governing body reviews and adopts their individual plan, the entire basin plan will be submitted to the State and FEMA for approval in September 2003. The hazards that are being considered as the plan is being developed include: ‘ Flood, wildland fire, major urban fire, drouth, winter storm, tornado and wind There are five key phases for the development of the plan: hazard identification; risk assessment ; mitigation strategy; public involvement; adoption by governing body Each jurisdiction is expected to complete the following as part of the planning process: ‘ Designate single point of contact and notify water partners. ‘ Provide background documentation and local data to water partners. ‘ Identify mitigation strategies from menu provided by water partners. ‘ Seek local public input. ‘ Obtain governing body approval. According to Sedwick, the mitigation plan is now required by law if communities expect to receive state or federal funding in the event of a natural disaster. “It costs us very little to join this coalition ($250),” said Brady mayor Clarence Friar. “We certainly need those maps up-to-date. Floods are devastating to everyone, and if it were to happen here, we would rely on the coalition. I don’t see anything but gain here.” Agreeing with the mayor’s opinion of joining the Texas Colorado River Flood Plain Coalition, the city council backed Friar’s comments with their approval of the issue. In coordination with the item, the council also approved Friar to serve as a member of the executive committee representing the City of Brady in the coalition. Councilman Billy Patterson was approved as his second in command as alternate, and building inspector Pete McKinney was appointed to the coalition’s technical committee. In a separate item, the council approved a resolution supporting the McCulloch County commissioner’s recommendation to name Randy Young as a representative on the Rural Transportation District. In other business, the city council approved bids submitted by two individuals for scrap and salvage material and a vehicle owned by the City of Brady. The bid to purchase $150 worth of scrap wire and $300 worth of salvage pipe from the city was submitted by J.L. Williams and unanimously approved by the council on Wednesday. A separate bid of $4,600 submitted by Jesse Castanuela to purchase a used lift truck from the city was also accepted by members of the council. In another bid approved by the council, just over $32,000 will be paid by the city for a used motor grader. According to Taylor, the bid reflects a trade-in motor grader that was never sold outright to an individual, therefore, the bid for the used motor grader was adjusted to reflect the value of the trade-in. The payout will be expected over a 12-month period and is already accounted for in the 2003 fiscal year budget. In citizen’s comments, Joe Sanchez questioned if councilman Matt Mills’ intent to run for re-election is legally within the boundaries of the city charter. Sanchez made the statement that Mills is currently serving his third term; however, the issue was resolved when it was explained that the charter states an elected official can only serve three full terms. Because Mills assumed the un-expired term of Helen Deeds, he hasn’t yet served three full terms. The council approved the first reading of an ordinance adopting the zoning ordinance for the City of Brady. With the city’s planning and zoning committee present for questioning, councilman Donald Barley addressed the group and asked if the committee is “satisfied with the plan and if it would be workable for the City of Brady.” Members of the committee expressed their contentment with the zoning ordinance and left the public hearing open for additional questions. Sanchez addressed the council once again and suggested that the committee include spot zoning along North Bridge Street. Zoning committee member and City of Brady building inspector McKinney explained that the issue was taken into consideration, however, at the recommendation of the city’s attorney, the committee chose to leave the North Bridge Street zoning alone. “All this is doing is renaming and renumbering what is already there to make it consistent with the ordinance,” said Barley. In closing the ordinance on the approval of its first reading, Taylor noted that the original ordinance was first adopted in 1947 and later amended in 1965. Other ordinances approved were: ‘ The third and final reading of an ordinance authorizing water service outside the city limits as requested by Steve Hendley; and ‘ The second reading of an ordinance amending the City of Brady fiscal year 2002-2003 budget. In the city manager’s report, Taylor mentioned that city officials have begun interview proceedings with potential candidates to fill the open police chief position. City secretary Christi McAnally reported that early voting for the May 5 election will begin April 16 and conclude on April 29. Along with two positions on the city council to be placed on the election ballot are 25 propositions regarding charter amendments.

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