Norman eyes new fund for flooding, drainage issues

In Norman, flooding isn't terribly unusual during rain.For a city who has a street named Flood Street, and another nicknamed "Lake McGee" for the drive that often floods, having a fund to take care of issues like drainage would be beneficial, city leaders say."Most cities around Oklahoma also have what's called a storm water utility. We do not," said Mayor Cindy Rosenthal.In an interview discussing the city budget, Mayor Rosenthal says having that fund would make major differences in the way the city balances the books."Those costs are being absorbed into our general fund and 53.39 that would be a game-changer for the city of Norman," Rosenthal said.The man in charge of issues like flooding is Shawn O'Leary, the city's public works director. He says he notices the problems with not having the fund."I think we're falling behind, we're not keeping up with the services and the needs that we have," O'Leary said."To do better, we need more funds and more resources to do that."But to get the fund, it has to be approved by voters and the money would come from residents and businesses---a proposition not received well by many.Still, O'Leary says fixing storm water issues is becoming less of a choice, and more of a demand."I think it's fair to say most of us have not done a great job, we've done a very basic, fundamental job of managing storm water but we can all do better, and in some cases, we have to do better, by federal and state mandates," O'Leary said.Norman's website has a lot of information on the proposed storm water utility fund here.
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