Lead Flood Defender Michelle Tyler and her neighbors gathered at Oakfield Acres Park to voice their concerns about flooding.
The problem: Development around the Belle Meade community has worsened underlying flood issues in the area. After failing to enforce their own code, the Board of County Commissioners eventually enforced rules requiring developers to control runoff and build a pond to offset their contribution to increased flooding. Residents say that’s not enough to fix the underlying flood issues.
What they’re saying: "Currently, Escambia County has allocated $4 million a year for [2015’s $417 million stormwater assessment] in local property sales tax," Flood Defenders Technical Advisor and former stormwater manager for Escambia County Chris Curb told WEAR-TV. "That's not enough. That'll take a hundred years to do all the drainage projects that are needed in Escambia County."
“One of the problems we had early on here was that the county was not in compliance with what they needed to be doing,” Tyler said at the meeting. “When we get upset and we start advocating, we organize around the same point, we can absolutely accomplish stuff. We are louder.”
What’s next: District 3 Commissioner Lumon May recently demanded a flood plan at a county meeting, but residents continue to wait for updates. County engineer Joy Jones has drafted plans requiring approval but they have not been released to the public, a spokesperson told WEAR-TV.
The takeaway: Lead Flood Defender Michelle Tyler and Flood Defenders in the Belle Meade community need better protection, especially when new development takes over open space. Despite not attending the meeting at Oakfield Acres Park, residents remain hopeful Commissioner May will deliver on his promised flood plan. Join them and demand action by supporting the Oakfield Acres and Belle Meade campaign.