Tropical Storm Fay dumped close to 24 inches of rain in 24 hours on parts of West Volusia in 2008, overflowing lakes, putting streets underwater and flooding 130 homes in DeBary.
Clisby issued an invitation for storm response volunteers on Sunday morning.
“If you are interested in volunteering or just getting more info, comment in this post.,” he wrote. “We will update as we have more information. We will likely call for a bigger meeting one evening this week to get everyone on the same page.”
The National Hurricane Center said this about Irma on Sunday:
It’s too early to say with certainty where Irma might hit in the U.S. mainland, though projections show it aiming at Florida and sitting northeast of Cuba by Friday.
Hurricane Irma is a Category 3 with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph while moving west-southwest.
The storm will power up as it moves over warmer water over the next three to five days.
“After 5 days, the forecast becomes much more uncertain, with most models suggesting a sharp turn north while remaining offshore,” the National Hurricane Center said this morning. “However, direct impacts to Florida can’t be ruled out as forecasts a week out are historically unreliable.”
A $50 million cleanup plan for Florida’s springs includes cash to protect Gemini Springs and other water bodies in Volusia County.
More than $380,000 from state, water district and local authorities will pay for efforts in DeBary to help clean runoff from 200 acres flowing into Gemini Springs.
About $1.2 million from state, district and locals will fund a project designed to reduce water withdrawals from Blue Spring in Orange City.
Nearly $390,000 for a separate project will help pay to remove 179 septic tanks that threaten the health of Blue Spring.
An additional $2 million is earmarked for Blue, Silver and
Wekiva to voluntarily replace and retrofit septic tanks at an estimated cost of $10,000 per tank.
Another $2.5 million is approved to reduce pollution in DeLeon Springs. The money will pay for a conservation easement to transition Fieser Dairy from a highly intensive dairy operation to a less intensive ranching operation.
“It is estimated that this project will result in a nutrient reduction of more than 200 pounds of total nitrogen per day and more than 80 pounds of total phosphorus per day,” the Florida Department of Environmental Protection said in a news release.
The state and St. Johns River Water Management District are each chipping in $95,000, and local authorities will provide $190,000, for the Gemini Springs project.
It will pay for “nutrient separating baffle boxes” with “enhanced
nutrient reduction from stormwater and surficial groundwater along Dirksen Drive in Volusia County and upstream of the marsh inflow to Gemini Springs Run,” according to documents released by Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s office. The property in the Fredricka Road area receives runoff from the 123-acre “Plantation Estates to the north, which was constructed prior to the stormwater treatment era,” documents state. “The Mansion Blvd. site receives runoff from an additional 85 acres of Plantation Estates. ”
Scott’s office and the Florida DEP on Monday announced $50 million for 40 projects. The so called Fighting for Florida’s Future budget will “improve water quality, reduce nutrient loading, recharge water supply and protect habitat in Florida’s iconic spring systems,” the Florida DEP said. This includes a state investment of more than $10.2 million to protect springs in Central and Northeast Florida, including the Silver, Wekiva, Volusia Blue and De Leon
“This includes a state investment of more than $10.2 million to protect springs in Central and Northeast Florida, including the Silver, Wekiva, Volusia Blue and De Leon springsheds,” a statement said. “Combined with match funding from Florida’s water management districts and local partners, the investment in springs projects statewide will total more than $94 million during the 2017-18 fiscal year.”
Two DeBary business owners hammered the City Council recently over the escalating cost of building, managing and maintaining drainage in the River City.
The debate surfaced during a workshop Wednesday as council members continue to refine proposals to both give stormwater credits to certain business owners and make the fees more equitable for homeowners.
Homeowners in DeBary pay $192 annually for homes on public roads, a fee that was increased from $84.
The fee, imposed after widespread flooding, was enacted in 2005 at $84 per home and raised to its current level in 2015.
Homeowners generate $1.3 million of revenue for the roughly $2 million per year stormwater program.
Commercial and industrial property owners, who pay for most of the rest of the program, are charged based on the amount of so-called impervious surface areas on their properties. That includes rooftops and parking lots.
Kenny Patterson of American Auto Salvage & Recycling and Benson Junction Trading Depot said city officials are “double taxing” business owners who made drainage upgrades but still have to pay annual fees. He questioned the need for the upgrades, noting how certain sandy soils in Florida absorb water quickly.
“It sucks water into the sand. It’s gone,” he said.
Mildred Piper, who built The Village of DeBary commercial plaza at 2955 Enterprise Road roughly 10 years ago, said her stormwater upgrades were so extensive, they cost $250,000. She worries about her annual fees.
“I shouldn’t be charged $5,000 a year,” she said.
City Council member Erika Benfield assured Piper that her concerns have not “fallen on deaf ears.”
“What is the city actually doing for her?” added City Council member Stephen Bacon.
City officials are considering a credit, possibly worth as much as 25 percent, for certain commercial and industrial land owners. They would have to apply for the discount and demonstrate they adequately manage stormwater onsite. The discount is estimated to reduce revenue from commercial and industrial property owners by 4 to 6 percent, or about $75,000 and $125,000 said stormwater consultant David Hamstra.
DeBary Mayor Bob Garcia said he favors giving business owners some relief.
“I’m looking for some answers for the credit,” he said. Hamstra said both Orange City and Deltona offer similar discounts and the impact on their
budgets has been minimal.
Applicants must hire an engineer to regularly inspect the stormwater systems to show they are functioning properly.
City staffers are expected to refine the stormwater funding proposals for both businesses and homeowners
before the next workshop, scheduled for 6 p.m. May 10 at City Hall, 16 Colomba Road.
City officials are also thinking about switching from the existing flat-rate fee for homeowers to a new system that would charge small homes less and large homes more.
For example, under one proposal, a house with less than 2,000 square feet would pay $100, a savings of $92. But a house under that same proposal with more than 4,500 square feet would pay $350, a substantial increase.
Benfield proposed a new category that would shift some of the burden to owners of homes that are larger than 6,000 square feet. That would help reduce the $350 rate, she and other council members stated.
Under a proposal likely to change for the next workshop, 1,310 households would get a $92 fee reduction and 2,739 would get a $17 cut. The same proposal would increase the fee by $58 for 2,457 property owners. Finally, 914 households — the largest ones in the city — would see an additional $158 charge for a total of $350.
The city scrambled after widespread flooding hit DeBary during storms in 2004 and 2008. Since then, the city has installed stormwater upgrades valued at roughly $30 million.
Two years after the first flood, DeBary voters in 2006 approved a $10 million bond to help jumpstart the drainage upgrades.
If the city rolled back the fee to $84 but didn’t add some other form of revenue, it would only collect enough to pay for the annual debt payments of $700,000. The city has 12 more years of loan payments.
Under that scenario, no new projects couldn’t be constructed, existing ones couldn’t be maintained and public-works employees would likely be laid off, council members were told at a previous workshop.