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Published: Wednesday, 9/29/2010

Webb lobbies against dike assessments

Toledo Councilman Lindsay Webb pleaded for support Tuesday against levying special assessments on about 1,600 Point Place property owners to improve a dike system built in the early 1970s.

The system, built to help prevent flooding, is in need of $1.2 million to $2 million of improvements and Ms. Webb wants council to approve spending $760,000 of the city's capital improvement budget on the project this year, and an undefined sum next year.

Without improvements, those property owners may have to buy federal flood insurance at a cost of $700 or more a year.

Mayor Mike Bell had initially offered to recommend that council spend $760,000 of the city's capital improvement budget on the project this year, but when he submitted the capital improvements budget, he left that money unallocated.

The dike system was built by the Army Corps of Engineers in the late 1970s at a cost of more than $14 million to alleviate neighborhood flooding. Property tax assessments paid some of that.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has told the city the Point Place flood-control system needs to be modernized in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the August, 2005, storm that devastated New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast. Making the improvements would keep Point Place from being designated a flood-prone area.

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