published Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Flood study in the works for Cleveland, Tenn.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Cleveland leaders have approved a United States Army Corps of Engineers flood risk management study of creek basins within city limits, and they want their county counterparts to do the same for the rest of Bradley County.

On Monday, the Cleveland City Council voted 7-0 to go forward with the study, which will cost the city $525,000, half the study's cost; federal funding will cover the other half.

"I think this resolution reflects our continued effort to eliminate some of the flooding problems we've had," said Councilman Richard Banks. "We've had a lot of people with a lot of losses as a result of flooding and [sewer] backflow, and I think it's important that this study be done."

The City Council also voted 7-0 to request that the county execute a comprehensive flood-risk management study to complement the city study "for an overall solution for all citizens, both city and county residents."

"We need to put these plans into practical use, not put them on a shelf," said Councilman David May.

"It [the study] can't stop at the city limits," said Councilman George Poe. "Without the county, it's pointless."

The city study area will focus on the Mouse Creek and Candies Creek basins, according to the proposal documents.

However, said city officials, flood- water problems don't end or begin at the city limits; they want the county to focus studies upon Little Chattata and Conasauga creeks.

In other business, officials discussed the city's move toward a no-kill animal shelter and an increased need for emergency medical care for some animals until they are adopted.

"As we work very diligently to decrease the number of euthanized animals, we are providing for emergency medical care," said City Manager Janice Casteel.

Those costs are billed to animal owners if they are known, but otherwise the city has to absorb those costs, said Casteel. Funding could become an issue when balancing a high veterinary bill against a $50 adoption fee for animals whose owners are unknown.

Until a method is determined how to offset these emergency medical costs, the animal shelter will be very dependent on donations to help with those fees, said Casteel.

The shelter recently received a $500 donation, said Casteel, but those funds were strictly earmarked for covering adoption fees.

When she meets again with the animal shelter board, Casteel said she will propose a drop-off fee for owners who surrender their animals to the shelter.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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