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Crucial to new county budget is flood control funds for Ellicott City [Editorial]

Glenn Foden's editorial cartoons
(Glenn Foden)

When a hard rain hits Historic Ellicott City, business and home owners get justifiably nervous. Powerful storms have a tendency to back up culverts, pour water into yards and basements and swell the Patapsco River.

The results are often closed shops, flooded basements and loss of belongings. And, perhaps as significant, a lack of faith that anyone in the county is even listening.

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Flooding in downtown Ellicott City has been a problem for years, mainly on the town's west side. Despite spending money to study the dilemma and making promises to fix things, the problems continue. During the county executive campaign, Allan Kittleman promised to find a way to put a greater focus on the issue if he was elected.

It appears he has.

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In his 2016 capital budget released earlier this month, Kittleman has included $6.4 million for stormwater remediation countywide. In that funding is $200,000 to repair the parking lot behind the old post office on Main Street in Ellicott City. In addition, the budget includes $3.25 million from a grant specifically targeted to Ellicott City repairs.

Of course, the capital budget has yet to be approved by the County Council, so this money isn't "in the bank," so to speak. That approval should come May 20 when the county's operating budget is also up for approval. But one would hope that the council will be amenable to keeping the funds in place. First-time Councilman Jon Weinstein, who represents Ellicott City and who also campaigned on bringing flood remediation to the historic district, must be the advocate there.

As we move forward, both Weinstein and the Kittleman administration need to keep pushing forward on these repairs, keeping the effected parties in the loop the entire time. After years of promises, we can understand that there might still be skepticism that help is on the way.

While budgeting the money is a big step, the real solution won't come until the workers show up on the scene. We hope that's long before we have another significant rainfall.

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