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Tama Council moves ahead with levee study

Does Not Meet FEMA Standards In 100-Year Flood Event

November 25, 2019
By Allison Graham - The News-Herald ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

The Tama Council has officially entered into a $150,400 contract with Snyder and Associates to do survey work on the levee. The action was taken at the regular meeting of the council on Monday night, Nov. 18.

The work will determine whether or not the levee will need to be raised two inches to be compliant with FEMA standards.

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

Article Photos

South Tama County exchange student, Deep Kaur, presented to the Tama City Council about her home country of Pakistan on Monday, November 18. Kaur will be living in Tama/Toledo and attending South Tama schools this year. Pictured are Dan Rathjen, Robert Tyynismaa, Emily Babinat, Doug Ray, Kaur, Kenny McAdoo, Aaron Haughey and Mayor Mike Carnahan. Kaur is currently being hosted by Robert and Penny Tyynsimaa.
News Herald Photo/Allison Graham

"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.

Johnson was again present at Monday's meeting. He explained to the council there is a possibility FEMA will allow an exception to Tama's levee. This may be a possibility according to his understanding FEMA would allow the exception if the height needed to be added is under two feet, which Tama's levee is. The cost of raising the levee would be around $500,000.

But first the survey work must be completed. If the city chose to do nothing Tama citizens in the flood area would be required to purchase flood insurance.

The city may be eligible for a grant should construction be required on the levee but they are in a race against time. Jennifer Winter of Region 6 has been working with the city on the potential grant through the U.S. Economic Development Association, but in order to get the grant a construction project would be required. Also other states will by vying for the same grant money and by the time Tama knows the outcome of the survey results, the grant money could be allotted to other communities. More information is expected around January.

The council unanimously voted to accept the contract with Snyder and Associates.

Water Testing

Public Works Director John Lloyd discussed water testing with the council. The council has been discussing what to do about the deterioration of one of the city's water tanks for several months. The cost of testing the water is $1,200-$1,500 per well. Lloyd is wanting to do the testing to see what is causing the deterioration.

He is wondering if the tanks need more chlorine or if they need cleaned more frequently, or if they should look at purchasing another tank.

Another idea being discussed is joining water departments with Toledo. The cost of cleaning the wells is $40,000 per tank.

To do the testing they have to flush the tanks which takes around 12 hours. Then a sample can be taken and sent to Kansas for testing. The council approved for the water to be tested.

DNR Funding

Lloyd is looking into funding from the Iowa DNR for the water tanks however nothing can be done until March.

Nuisance Abatement Update

Lloyd informed the council there has been progress on cleanup of homes who received an abatement letter. There are a few properties who are requesting extensions. Lloyd encouraged the council to drive around and see the progress.

Time Clock Update

At a previous council meeting the council discussed purchasing a time clock system for city employees. The cost would be around $6,700. City Clerk, Alyssa Hoskey, told the council she has heard mixed reviews on the system. The council would like Hoskey to gather some more information before they make a decision on whether to move forward.

The council heard a presentation by STC exchange student, Deep Kaur. Kaur is from Pakistan and is currently being hosted by Robert and Penny Tyynismaa. Kaur presented to the council about the language, food, flag and music of Pakistan.

In other business the council:

approved a financial report

lifted the burn ban until December 2


Hoskey informed the council they received a rate increase on accounts at Lincoln Savings Bank which will result in a extra $35,000 windfall.

Doug Ray asked if there had been in more information about raising rent at MercyCare. He also told Lloyd there were some street light globes in need of repair.

Council member Emily Babinat attended a grant workshop for Tama County Community Foundation. There has been changes to the process that people will need to take note of if applying for a grant.

Mayor Mike Carnahan informed the council the annexation of the Zimmerman property in Tama has been approved.



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