The seriousness of recent flooding in Rockport has alerted our citizens to the absolute necessity for unusual, very large, and very critical expenditures. Some costs may be seen as the inevitable requirement to pay the piper for past inaction. Some costs may result from the need to accommodate increased development in the area. Some costs may be due to inflation. Some must be attributed to the absolute necessity of preventative maintenance.
Regardless of the causes, future flooding will not disappear - and if nothing is done there is a strong risk that it will worsen.
Any one of us who has witnessed the depth and force of the July flooding will understand that, to the extent possible, recurrences must be mitigated – and this can only happen if the City Council allocates the necessary funds. Let us stop pretending that this is not an emergency. A future flood could claim lives and ruin more property in more and more neighborhoods.
Of course, there are many intricacies regarding the budget of which we, the public, are unaware, and perhaps there is a tranche of cash somewhere, which can be produced to accommodate every wish and recommendation. Last week’s council meeting seemed to suggest, however, that some members regard agreeable enhancements to the City – along with lower taxes – as more deserving of funding than the ability to deal with this emergency by, for example, clearing Tule Creek and other drainage areas, adding new drainage areas, clearing and/or replacing old pipes, preventing the recurrence of sinkholes, studying the impact of each new development on overloaded systems, and whatever else qualified professionals can suggest to prepare responsibly for our future.
As this is written, a study of the proposed budget (pp. 29-30 and p. 93) reveals what we already knew: to wit, that over the past several years, no funds whatsoever have been allocated for drainage in some of the areas most affected by the recent flood. We do not know whether regular funding mechanisms or a bond issue will be necessary to produce what is needed to meet the City’s contractual obligations and, more importantly, to preserve our lives and property. Regardless, adequate funding – immediately - is absolutely necessary.
We suggest that the City Council compare every item on the budget, one by one, alongside funding for this crisis, then choose, one by one, which item is more urgent.