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City of Tama to weigh $500,000 levee decision

September 7, 2019
By Allison Graham - The News-Herald ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Risk versus protection of citizens is a decision the City of Tama is going to have to make in the coming months. A few months back the city opted to spend $5,000 to have the levee assessed. The results are now in and the levee does not meet FEMA standards should a 100 year flood occur.

"The difference between the elevation of the top of the levee and the water surface elevation of a 100 year flood wouldn't meet the code of federal regulation for levee accreditation," Parker Johnson of Snyder and Associates, the city's contract engineer firm told the Tama City Council on Tuesday night, Sept. 3.

If a 100 year flood were to occur and the city does nothing, Tama would be at the bottom of the list for assistance from FEMA. The other part of this is that if the city chooses not to build up the levee, home mortgage lenders will likely require home buyers to purchase flood insurance, which could be a significant additional cost. Rates for flood insurance are determined by the risk of the area. Everyone in the flood map area would be affected. Those who don't have insurance would likely be required to purchase it and those who already have flood insurance, will likely see a rate increase.

The levee is currently accredited by the Army Corp of Engineers which is a government agency. However, according to City Clerk, Alyssa Hoskey, FEMA does not recognize the Corps. For the levee to be re-accredited it will cost upwards of $500,000. That includes the process for re-accreditation which is around $50,000-80,000 plus the cost to add two inches to the levee.

"It puts us kind of in a bad position," said Hoskey, "You either do this and help your citizens or you don't do it and save yourself the money and risk it not only for the citizens but for ourselves being that we are in that flood plan as well."

What triggered the change is updated technology and more data.

The criteria must be met by December of 2020 for re-accreditation.


Larry Thomas was before the council to request raising the money that goes into the Ambulance Trust from $50 to $75. Council member Emily Babinat advised Thomas return to make the request when the city begins discussion for the next fiscal year budget.

The council approved purchases for a training mannequin for $20,269.80 and ventilators for $9655.08.

In other business the council:

discussed updates to their employee handbook. The handbook will be approved at a special council meeting on Monday, September 9.

held a public hearing to amend the Fiscal Year Budget for 2020.

approved Larry Werner as a Tama Fire Department member.

approved 808 Siegel Street residence for a CDBG housing program grant.

Tim Bradley offered $10 for the purchase of real estate near his home. Bradley will be covering the cost of a survey as well.

approved liquor license renewals for Jiffy South and the Tama-Toledo Country Club

approved bills to Tama County Economic Development and Ed Hardon


Babinat met with the library and got the go ahead to start repairs with whatever the architect deems most important right now. The library also installed new fire alarms.

Council member Robert Tyynismaa reported the high school cross country team will be using part of the REC trail for the course at the upcoming meet they are hosting.

There will be a work session next Monday at 7 p.m.



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