Alma city leaders discussed drainage, parks and annexation during their Thursday night council meeting.
After several weeks of heavy rains, Alma Public Works Director Mark Yardley spoke to the city council about issues of drainage throughout the city.
One issue that needs to be addressed by the city, Yardley said, is runoff waters flowing from behind Spring Hills subdivision into the adjacent neighborhoods.
Before the area was developed, water would flow down the slope and away, Yardley said. Houses and fencing located there now has changed the direction of that flow, he said.
Homes on the neighboring street now have a "raging river" going through their backyards during times of heavy rainfall, Yardley said.
While homeowners have complained about the issue, nothing has been done so far, he said.
"I am concerned about the message to the people of the community that feel they’re being neglected," Yardley said.
One reason for the city’s inaction is the matter of responsibility. After discussing the issue with Alma City Attorney Chuck Baker, Yardley said there is no clear party that can be held accountable for the problem.
Which is why, he said, the city should act.
"At this point, it probably is the city that should deal with it, because of our responsibility to the residents and they’re expectation that we’ll take care of them."
With discussion of further annexations in the works, Alderman John Ware added that the city should be concerned about how residents with ongoing issues such as drainage may react.
"As you start talking about expansion, these are the same people that are going to say, ‘How are you going to take care of those people when you don’t take care of your own people right now?’" Ware said.
Yardley assured city aldermen that the city’s sanitary sewer system has the hydraulic capacity to carry the flood waters from recent rains to the water treatment plant, but said the plant itself was not meant to treat the additional gallons.
"Our treatment plant was designed to treat 1.8 million gallons of water per day," Yardley said during the meeting. "Right now it’s getting about 6 million."
Much of the extra water is being diverted to a holding pool until the plant is able to treat it, and public works crews are taking steps to make sure the pool itself does not overflow, Yardley said.
Mayor Keith Green briefly mentioned that plans for further annexations are in the works, and are set to be evaluated by the city planning commission during their next meeting on June 2.
More information on possible annexations will be provided in the coming weeks, he said.
A Parks Advisory Committee was created the week of May 1, Green said. The group had its first meeting May 13.
Made up of five Alma residents, the committee will provide ideas and recommendations for parks, trails and the Alma Cemetery, Green said.
Committee members are Jim Warnock, committee chair; Randy Coleman; Trisha Westbrooks; former Mayor John Ballentine; and Alderman John Tribulak, who will act as city council representative.