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Lincoln council asked to put $9.9M stormwater bond issue on May ballot
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Lincoln council asked to put $9.9M stormwater bond issue on May ballot

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For more than 40 years, the city has used voter-approved bond issues to pay for more than 100 stormwater construction projects across the city.

Recent work at 56th and Morton streets is expected to reduce flooding of nearby businesses and is one example of work paid for by a recent voter-approved bond.

The city recently stabilized the channel bank and replaced the pedestrian bridge in Irvingdale Park with stormwater bond funds.

On Monday, the City Council will decide whether to put a new $9.9 million stormwater bond issue question on the May 7 citywide ballot.

That money will be used to reduce flooding along Dead Man’s Run in north Lincoln and for several stream stabilization and channel erosion projects.

The 20-year bond, if approved by voters, would add about $6 a year to the property tax bill on an average home, valued at $183,000, according to the city Finance Department.

The largest project, along Dead Man’s Run from 33rd to 48th streets, will likely take about 480 houses and businesses out of the flood plain, eliminating the requirement for flood insurance, said Donna Garden, assistant director for Lincoln Transportation and Utilities.

The City of Lincoln will contribute about $6.6 million to the Dead Man’s Run project. Other governmental entities, including the Army Corps of Engineers, the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District and the University of Nebraska, will help pay for the project expected to cost around $25 million, Garden said. Federal funds are expected to cover $10 million of the project. 

The project includes channel widening from Cornhusker Highway to 48th Street, new bridges or culverts at 33rd, 38th and 48th streets and the proposed construction of a detention basin near Fleming Fields.

The widening of the channel and the bridge replacements will provide more capacity for water and reduce the flood plain in the area, Garden said.

Other projects proposed as part of the bond issue include four stream stabilization projects in parks, including Seacrest Park, Olympic Heights Park, the Tierra-Williamsburg area, and a new southeast Lincoln park between Yankee Hill and Pine Lake roads west of 70th Street; as well as some small projects on Salt Creek. There are also plans for miscellaneous street draining and urban storm sewer projects and work on the drainage master plan.

The city generally seeks voter approval on stormwater bond issues every two to four years. Voters last approved a $6.3 million bond issue in 2016.

That year the City Council reduced the original stormwater bond request from Mayor Chris Beutler by removing money for early emerald ash borer-related work.  

The stormwater system helps prevent flooding and helps clean rainwater before it gets to Salt Creek. The system includes curbside inlets, underground drainage pipes, drainage channels and ponds across the city. 

Using voter-approved bond issues has been very successful, Garden said.

"It has helped give us the dollars we need for capital improvements for the stormwater system," she said. 

The city has about $29.3 million in outstanding stormwater debt and the owner of a home of average value is paying $31 to pay off those voter-approved bonds, according to the city.

The next bond matures in December 2022.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7250 or nhicks@journalstar.com

On Twitter @LJSNancyHicks.

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Reporter

Nancy Hicks reports on Lincoln city government, but she’s been following the leaders of local and state government for more than 40 years.

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