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11/3/2012 10:29:00 AM
Flood-control project could lead to growth

Ken Hedler
Special to the Tribune

A proposed flood-control project that would allow the development of at least 200 lots underwent discussion by the Town Council Thursday.

The project would entail engineering a mile-long stretch of the usually dry Agua Fria River channel, according to Public Works Director Norm Davis. The 200-plus lots are unbuildable now because they lie in a 100-year floodplain.

The town qualified for $225,000 from Yavapai County Flood Control District taxes for a study to redefine the Agua Fria floodplain and move it north away from the platted-lot area of Roundup Drive, according to a brief report that Ray Smith, the town's engineering division manager, prepared for the council.

The study also will include 30 percent design plans for stormwater improvements for several drainages in Unit 16 (west of Robert Road and south of Roundup Drive), Smith's report stated. The study also will define stormwater management improvements for widening Robert Road north of Tranquil Boulevard.

"It is a rather large study," Smith told the council. "We are looking forward to doing it. There is no cost of the town."

Property owners in Prescott Valley and throughout the county pay a secondary tax rate of 29.63 cents per $100 in assessed valuation, according to the 2012/13 tax rates that the county supervisors set.

Councilwoman Patty Lasker asked Smith whether the owners of the 200-plus lots want to be removed from the floodplain.

Town Manager Larry Tarkowski responded that town official met in 2004 with the affected property owners. The owners endorsed being taken out of the floodplain because their lots were "worthless," he added.

Tarkowski also acknowledged the flood-control project could increase the value of the land, leading to higher tax rates. Prescott Valley does not have a primary tax rate, but property owners pay taxes to several special districts, including the flood control, Humboldt-Unified School and Central Yavapai Fire districts.

The flood-control project could entail re-channeling the river or building a dike, Smith said.

The town also has had plans in the works for years for a proposed Agua Fria park, Davis said.

"This is a very important flood-control project," Davis said.

Responding to a question from Vice Mayor Don Tjiema, Davis said he has "a good level of confidence" that the study would not exceed $225,000 in costs.

He added the town also would seek approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for any floodplain map changes.

"As engineers, we are very excited about this project," Davis said.

The project shows a "great example" of cooperation between the town and the county government, Councilman Michael Whiting said.

The Agua Fria River channel is "not normally wet," Smith said after the work/study meeting. He added he has not witnessed flooding in the vicinity in the five years he has been on the job.

The proposal will go to a vote for the council next Thursday, Davis said.

Public Works staff interviewed the four most qualified engineering consultants Oct. 16, Smith's report to the council stated.

The council also discussed plans for the third phase of the Western Boulevard stormwater management project. Staff has recommended accepting a bid for $165,850 from Earth Resources Corp., a Dewey-Humboldt-based firm that dredged Fain Lake a year ago.

The project will be paid in full by the flood control district.

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