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Published September 08, 2010, 09:42 AM

People in flood threatened homes may have to pay for future sandbags

Moorhead, Minn. (WDAY TV) - It could be up to the people who live in flood threatened homes to find their own way to get sandbag protection. If the city decides not to provide bags, it will be a separate discussion whether they continue to coordinate volunteers.

Moorhead, Minn. (WDAY TV) - Sandbags will continue to be a staple item in Moorhead's flood protection plan, but in the future you may have to pay for them. Flood mitigation projects have cut the number of sandbags that would be needed in another flood like in the last two years in half.

But the hot spot: about 300 properties mostly south of I-94 along the river will need about 2-and-a-half million sandbags for protection.

Before voting on building a 1.7 million dollar sandbag storage facility, the city must decide if it will provide sandbags in the future. They cost the city 2 to 3 dollars each.

“There's always a risk that if we make sandbags, we may have a flood event where we don't get a flood declaration, meaning the city would not be reimbursed and would have to incur all of those costs locally.”

This means it could be up to the people who live in flood threatened homes to find their own way to get sandbag protection.

If the city decides not to provide bags, it will be a separate discussion whether they continue to coordinate volunteers.

On a lovely late summer afternoon, Jerry Konig has no problem tending to his own yard. But fast forward to flood season when his neighborhood can look like this and in the past, sandbags and volunteers were trucked in to help. Jerry can hardly imagine how he'd do it without help from the city.

Jerry: “That would be a lot of work.”

Plus, there's a certain level of protection he and some of his neighbors have come to expect as a tax payers.

Jerry: “Cost to them, service needed until diversion, they should do their part.”

Then there's the Hetlands, who would just as soon do it themselves. They built this clay dike on their own and wouldn't mind avoiding any future muddy ruts and tracks that can be left by city trucks.

Phil put his house on the buyout list, but did not receive an offer. He says he still expects to protect his home himself.

Phil: “Less they know, the less they can interfere.”

Phil also isn't a fan of seeing Moorhead money going toward a 1.7 million dollar structure to build and store sand bags.

Phil: “That's nonsense.”

The city may also choose to provide sandbags only when flooding gets up to a certain level.

But just like the water and now the fate of city-provided sandbags, “that's difficult to predict.”

Historically, Moorhead did not provide sandbags for homeowners. Zimmerman says they helped out in 1997, 2006 and the last two springs because of the magnitude of the flooding.

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