Mayor Nic Hunter Updates the City on Drainage Funding
Nic Hunter used the Lake Charles City Hall Facebook page to address residents about what will be done with the city's drainage. He started his presentation off by announcing the flood the city experienced on May 17 has been officially declared a federal disaster. For those of us keeping score, that makes five in a year.
Hunter broke down the funds the city has spent over the last few years to fight the challenges of draining and flooding that has happened in recent years. The funds go from six figures a few years ago to seven figures in the last two years.
Immediate relief and immediate work will begin as Hunter requests the City Council support a $3M advance on the budget for 2022 that would be used for drainage funds for that year. This means work can start immediately to focus on those areas Hunter called hot spots around the city.
His next step is to borrow upwards of $20M with the Council's blessing to clean out the city's drainage further. He will also approach the state to split further costs evenly to clean up the areas of state roadways that need it in order to further alleviate the drainage systems in those areas within city limits. One of those state roadways is Ryan Street in Lake Charles. Hunter is looking for the city to be reimbursed by FEMA and Hazard Mitigation for the work being done. The additional money being borrowed and re-budgeted will not cause an increase in taxes for residents of the Lake Area.
Mayor Hunter calls out non-city planners to do the same as he is doing for the city of Lake Charles. He called out the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury to borrow what they need in order to work on the drainage systems in their areas. The thought is that even if the city of Lake Charles gets its drainage system in order, these outer areas not controlled by the city could still fail and cause issues as water reaches them.
We will get there. The greatest asset of SWLA is the resiliency and character of her people. We will get there, and we will get there together.
Hunter closed his address with a reminder that the SWLA area is over 280 days out from Hurricane Laura. In those 280 days, the Federal Government has yet to produce a supplemental disaster aid package for the area. To put that into perspective, Hunter gave the example that it only took ten days post Hurricane Katrina and 74 days after Hurricane Sandy. Now, the Lake Area is sitting on five Federally declared disasters and has yet to receive help from the Federal Government.