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In My Opinion By Kris Yaniello

For those in the Tyrone community who are graced by the Little Juniata River’s presence in their yards and basements when a flood hits Tyrone, there’s been some recent developments in the incomplete flood control project in Tyrone.
Borough officials and representatives from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) met informally last week to look over the half-complete project. DEP was guided throughout the borough to different areas of the completed flood control plan and to other areas within the borough, taking pictures and looking over the area.
Tyrone Borough plans to move forward with DEP in terms of an Impact Study Survey, which is a survey that will eventually be sent out to Tyrone residents who were affected by the 2004 flooding from the Bald Eagle Creek and Juniata River.
Sounds like great news, right? Well, don’t get rid of your sump pumps quite yet.
The representative from DEP told the borough that it would help the borough look for some funding sources in the future, but as for Governor Ed Rendell’s $100 million proposed flood protection package that could provide funds to needy communities, Tyrone would not get any of those monies if Rendell’s proposal comes through. Those monies are already allocated to other communities.
Plus, DEP also told borough officials that it estimates that it would cost close to $107 million to just complete Tyrone’s flood control plan, which consists largely of the Phase III portion of the project that never got on its feet back in 1978. At that time, the estimated cost to complete the plan was $41 million. The project originally consisted of five phases.
I think there’s a reason why this project has yet to be completed. Unless the whole project is funded, either by the state (which is unlikely) or by the federal government (which probably wouldn’t foot the whole bill), there would be a lofty price tag that would fall on borough residents. Such was the case when the project ended back in November of ‘78, when borough residents voted against a referendum to continue the flood control project.
If the project continued, borough residents were facing a 90 percent increase in the borough property taxes that was to be extended over a 25 year period.
Today, people around here are up in arms over the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy and the borough’s Act 537 Plan, which ratepayers fall burden to a $400,000-$500,000 responsibility, which originally was priced at $3.7 million. The original cost included other upgrades at the wastewater treatment facility that the borough found were not necessary to be completed right away, but will be completed once funding becomes available.
Hypothetically, imagine what kind of price tag borough residents would be hit with even if 75 percent of Tyrone’s flood control plan was covered by the state and/or federal government. The borough would still be facing a $25 million responsibility. I’m probably being very generous with a 75 percent estimation.
It’s great to see that our borough officials are looking into the incomplete flood control project in Tyrone. The borough has heard the citizens’ voice and are looking for avenues to pursue funding sources. I just wouldn’t get too excited about the flood control project being completed any time soon.
$107 million is a lot of money. Even if Gov. Rendell would give Tyrone all of the proposed $100 million to help protect flood-prone communities, it still wouldn’t be enough to pay the bill. That sounds crazy, but it’s reality.
Tyrone residents should know that the borough is trying to figure out what it can do to finish this flood control project, it’s just not as easy as one might think. Tyrone needs to find money for this project to get completed.
I don’t think there’s enough room on Ice Mountain to place enough windmills to pay for a completed flood control project, but that’s just my opinion.