WEST TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Like many parts of the Wabash Valley, the city of West Terre Haute saw some serious – in some cases, record breaking – flooding in late April and early May.
But unlike most places around the Wabash River, West Terre Haute has some extraordinary strikes against it.
"The river was at its fourth highest level in history," recalled Roger Montgomery, the city's street superintendent and president of the local levee association. "A lot of us worked around the clock."
Montgomery and members of the West Terre Haute town council met with homeowners Monday evening in the first regularly scheduled meeting since the flooding that some say was the worst they'd seen, outside of the year 2008.
Additionally, homeowners Ron and Roberta Boswell, who live at the corner of 9th and Edwards Streets, insist they – like every other taxpayer on that side of the river – have been paying a monthly $7 fee tacked onto their water bill; a line item labeled "storm water charge" on city utility bills. It's a fee the city enacted in 2006, and city leaders are very upfront about the fee's purpose.
"That's for the maintenance and future development of the existing and future stormwater system," Roger Montgomery shared with News 10.
West Terre Haute town council member Scott McClain elaborated, saying that the city is roughly right in the middle of a two-phase, $2 million storm sewer installation and upgrade. That 2006 monthly surcharge the Boswells so accurately pointed out has, so far, helped maintain the work that has been done on that project, and helped the city prepare for the latter half of the costly renovation.
McClain, like Montgomery and other elected and salaried city leaders, were prepared for some stiff questions from homeowners at Monday evening's meeting.
But, as Montgomery optimistically predicted, "Nine out of 10 people, once they find out the statistics, they cool off and realize it's just something we're going to have to deal with."
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