Commissioners approve bureau’s budget

By Cecilia Fox - [email protected]

MIAMI COUNTY — At their meeting Thursday, the Miami County Commissioners approved the Miami County Visitors Bureau’s 2016 budget and heard from residents concerned about flooding.

Homeowners in the Concord Acres area spoke during a public hearing on the petition to widen and change the course of Clayton Ditch No. 210 and No. 587.

These residents presented the commissioners with photos of their flooded properties and damage estimates. In addition to the financial cost of flooding, residents brought up health concerns due to flooded septic systems and pointed out the emotional toll of anxiety and loss of belongings.

Miami County Engineer Paul Huelskamp submitted a preliminary report to the commissioners at the hearing, and said that the petitioned plan is “technically feasible.”

The ditch in question, including a stone arch culvert noted in county records as far back as 1919, does not have the adequate hydraulic capacity required, Huelskamp said. The ditch is also overgrown and has two nearly 90 degree turns in the petitioned area, the report from the Engineer’s Office shows.

The plan requested by the petitioners would cost about $416,000. The estimated benefit, according to the Miami County Auditor, is about $208,739.

Alternate plans include the construction of a detention pond and the removal of the stone arch culvert, which would both cost just under $1 million.

One resident pointed out that the flooding did not occur before several nearby subdivisions were constructed, asking if the developers could be held responsible instead of assessing homeowners for the cost of the project.

Another hearing will be held at a date to be announced. Residents may submit their comments to the commissioner’s office until Monday, Nov. 2.

The commissioners also approved a $444,628 budget for 2016 submitted by the Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau earlier this week.

Diana Thompson, bureau executive director, described this year’s budget as “glaringly different” than in previous years, owing to a deficit of about $17,000. She explained that this is primarily due to increased hours for a staff member, from two to four days a week.

Thompson told commissioners the bureau’s total assets were more than $337,000 as of Sept. 30. The projected 2015 year-end balance is $2,000.

Commission President Jack Evans complemented a video released this year by the bureau, which features drone footage, calling it “superb.” A second drone video is being produced this week of the fall foliage in Miami County, which will be released in 2016, Thompson said.

By Cecilia Fox

[email protected]

Reach Cecilia Fox at [email protected]

Reach Cecilia Fox at [email protected]

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