JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The city of Jonesboro continues to clear miles of ditches to ease flooding issues in town.
The city council approved hiring two new street department employees and purchasing a new excavator to help clear out 60 miles of Jonesboro's 300 miles of ditches.
"We hope to be completed with those 60 miles that we identified as the hotspots. That should be done by the end of October," Mayor Harold Perrin said.
Initially, the city was going to contract out the work. However, Perrin said it's an ongoing issue they'll need to continue to address.
They'll do that, not just through ditch maintenance, but also through a flooding mitigation plan.
The city and the Army Corps of Engineers spent years creating phase one of a flood survey, which includes a plan to alleviate flooding in Jonesboro.
The plan is very expensive, though. Mayor Perrin said the good news is that they should receive some federal aid for the more than $100 million project.
"What my research tells me is that if in fact you're working with the Corps, and you follow their guidelines and they do the study for you, you have a much better chance of getting federal grants and getting money from the Corps and other agencies to help us do that," Mayor Perrin said.
However, Mayor Perrin said they will likely not receive aid for the entire project.
"I'm sure there's going to be a match. No doubt about that. So that's something we're going to have to look at down the road," Mayor Perrin said.
Mayor Perrin said with an all hands on deck attitude, they can successfully tackle the issue. He said they might have to look at reinstating a district drainage fee for citizens.
"Many years ago, Jonesboro had more drainage districts than they did and they had a levy tax on that, on the levy district," Mayor Perrin said. "It's a novel amount of money but every district paid. But we don't have as many districts as we used to have. Now we're coming to a point where do we need to do more of that?"
Perrin said while he's not entirely familiar with the history of the district drainage fees, Alderman Charles Frierson is.
He said he plans on speaking with Frierson and the area drainage districts to determine the best course of action.
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