Flood Protection Petition & Alternative Plan

Linn County petition to the Linn County Board of Supervisors
Cedar Rapids Change of Use and 5 Year Extended Sales Tax:
Limiting Current and Future Public Expenditures to Flood Protection

We request that an election be held, pursuant to Iowa Code Section 423B.1 for the purposes listed below as the undersigned eligible electors of Linn County, Iowa.

We request a vote to change the use of the existing $.01 local option sales and services tax which will end June 30, 2014 and to extend its use for an additional five years until June 30, 2019 for Cedar Rapids of which 100% of the revenues shall be used for FLOOD PROTECTION, specifically:
1) No more than $30 million towards the local match for the east side flood protection system as recommended by the Army Corps of Engineers. The remainder to be used as follows:
2) for dredging the Cedar River;
3) for preventing the sanitary and storm water sewer systems on the west side from being a conduit for flooding our neighborhoods by following the recommendations previously summarized by the Army Corps to improve the storm water sewer system including but not limited to: a) increase conveyance capacity; b) install back flow prevention structures; c) create storm water drainage basins; d) install permanent storm water pump stations; e) install drainage outlets through the levee to conform to Corps standards;
4) for tying the west side levee/s into higher ground, as recommended by the Army Corps and
5) for protecting our city’s water supply.

No bonds will be allowed to be sold utilizing the revenues of this change of use and five-year year extension sales tax.

We request that the change of use vote take place first, if both of these requests cannot be voted on at the same time.

We request that a vote for this change of use and extension appear at the earliest available date/s on the election calendar.

We would also like to add that none of this money is used to acquire any property by means of “eminent domain” or “eminent threat”.
Reason’s for looking at the Citizen’s Flood Protection Plan:

Almost half the cost- The city’s “preferred plan” cost $145 million to protect the west side. The “citizens’ plan” is estimated $80 million.

Plan can be built by local contractors and union workers- The city’s “preferred plan” was looking at hiring a contractor named EKO out of Germany. The “citizen’s plan” can be done with much simpler equipment by local welders, masons, and form pourers. Material can be purchased by local concrete companies and metal fabricators. This keeps our local money here at home subsequently growing our local economy.

Won’t channel flood water, backing up storm and sanitary sewers is not a problem, minimizes changes that could cause worse flooding downstream- the city’s“preferred plan”, when viewed from a flood impacted person perspective, looks not only worthless by potentially dangerous. Northern most neighborhoods to flood (Time Check) did not flood because of a breach in berm height. The neighborhood flooded because the water backed up through the sewers first. Ultimately I will admit that the flood of 2008 did rise above the berm height and would have poured over but since the initial flooding came from back up it is easy to conclude that this west side neighborhood would flood regardless of the height of a flood wall. The “citizen’s plan” allows for and considers backup. Considering the fact that squeezing the water together between two flood -walls, instead of letting it spread out will result in a deeper, heavier, and much faster body of water moving downstream. There is a greater risk that this body of water and debris could do severe damage to the interstate structure and the bridges we citizens use to connect the two sides of this city. In the days during the 2008 flood, when the bridges of Cedar Rapids were inundated with water many of the citizens and other commuters were forced to use the Interstate in order to get from one side of the river to the other. This caused extreme traffic clogging on the Interstate, especially during rush hour traffic. If a flood damaged or destroyed those bridges the problem would seize our city for months. Even worse if the infrastructure for the Interstate bridge over the 5 in 1 dam were to be damaged it would cripple our city and cause severe consequences for the entire state. Remember that channeling water makes it deeper, heavier, and faster. Most obvious, because most commonly understood, if you let water move through faster you put considerable risk to increased flooding downstream. Simply enough when you review the “citizen’s plan” you will see that it allows the same streets that flooded in 2008 to be used as channels for water to flow, allowing it to spread out rather than condensing. This is ideal for a city to use simple water barriers to block or open streets giving the city the ability to increase or decrease the flow rate of flooded water heading downstream in accordance with the amount of water that may still be coming. The city becomes a river control valve with the ability to make almost instant changes to protect downstream communities.

Flood protection starts immediately. Can be done in sections. No bonding- the city’s “preferred plan” is a construction job of such magnitude that it requires the city to write a very large check before the project can even start. To do this the city plans to borrow against the future income or revenues by selling bonds as a way of borrowing money. This was shown through the last local option sales tax campaign. The city had the bond to borrow the money from our future LOST revenues written up before the voters even decided on it. The “citizen’s plan”, on the other hand, can be built in sections, allowing citizens to receive flood protection and the plan to progress at the same time rate as the funding. This allows higher risk flood homes to start receiving protection the instant that funding is approved, rather than having to wait twenty years for the completion of a major project. It also alleviates the need to bond money because the plan progresses as the funding does. Receive some money, protect some homes. That‘s the common sense approach that doesn’t waste tons of money on bond interests rates.

Aesthetically better and it allows the remaining construction zone to be used. Permanent flood protection requires very high walls to contain and channel water along very large spans of riverbank. The height of the wall is relative to how close it is built to the current riverbank. The closer the riverbank the higher it must be. Flood protection in this manner creates a very ugly and obvious barrier between existing neighborhoods and the aesthetics of the river. View the projects in Grand Forks and Fargo, ND that the city refers to as an example of permanent flood walls or look at the current project at Pepsico (Quaker Oats). The “citizens’plan” for flood protection creates flood protection for individual homes, businesses, and blocks by creating a highly reinforced permanent fence structure that can be changed from retaining, security, privacy, or flood wall in a matter of hours. The highly reinforced permanent fence structure proposed in the “citizens’ plan” is an upscale touch to the current flood prone neighborhoods. The specific design is ultimately decided by the neighborhoods themselves, but the options from concrete casting and/or stone, brick, wood, or stucco surfacing gives neighborhoods and businesses a wide variety of themes to create for their neighborhood. Just think, neighborhoods can create their own village within a city and define their neighborhoods through these themes. By not building the flood wall protection that has been proposed by the city and its City Corps of Engineers, the land that was to previously have been used now becomes available for development. This land having been purchased with City Development Block Grant money should be used for new development in accordance with the desires of the neighborhood in which that land resides.

These are the promotional points in the current “citizens’ plan” for flood protection. Forthcoming will be a written detailed description of the “citizens’ plan”, followed by artistic renditions and general drafting plans. Detailed drafting plans and itemized labor costs will be revealed as the promotion of the “citizens’ plan” for flood protection moves forward.



The “citizens’ Plan” has been developed for three reasons:

• One, the people realized that the city’s “preferred plan” either wasn’t going to protect their property or is going to take so long to build that a faster alternative was needed.

• Two, the city’s “preferred plan” does not address the issue that the sanitary and storm sewers are the cause of initial flooding.

• Third, the city’s “preferred plan” does not consider the best alternatives for the people relating to who builds it, where the money comes from, and how local the work is contracted out. So the issues to address are as follows:

1. Protect homes and businesses from a flood of a similar magnitude as the one in 2008

A. Perimeter flood protection

B. Sewer backup protection

C. Ground seepage protection

1. Permanent skeletal structure for a flood wall around businesses blocks, and/or homes.

a. Skeletal structure made from structural I beams placed horizontally and vertically, connected, starting below frost level in the ground, and preceding to the height of flood water of 2008.
b. Concrete, with grid patterned rebar reinforcement, foundation poured below frost line to ground level.
c. Concrete casting or form around vertical I beams to the height of those i-beams.
d. b and c have metal track valley systems for insertion and removal of fencing and flood wall plates.

2. Temporary flood wall plates for permanent structure.

a. Removable flood plates made of aluminum or steel in dimension to maintain integrity according to the height and dimensional force of water at levels matching the 2008 flood.
b. Flood plate track system made of material to withstand weathering, be easy to clean and maintain, and integrity to retain flood plates.

B. Sewer backup protection

1. Two types of sanitary shut of systems.

a. Cap, weight, and valve-main-drain is capped and weighted in the basement and a drain valve to stop up flow.
b. Plug system.-long durable balloon is placed in the external drain and filled with water to pressure.

C. Ground seepage protection.

1. Sump basins and pumps to redirect potential ground seepage.
2. Generators to run pumps during electrical failure.

a. Solenoid starter and relay to start generator when electric fails.
c. Pedestal platform for generator, higher than flood height and closest to electric service.

Oh and I think it should be noted* after this city forced my neighbors to leave I will never vote in favor of their tax.


About Ajai Dittmar

There is nothing 'radical' about wanting to save your historical neighborhood! There is nothing 'negative' for wanting an 'outside investigation' done a public service that has had a lot of embarrassing news, especially when they don't do their jobs! There is nothing 'odd' about wanting politicians to uphold the Constitution they swear to uphold when they are sworn into office! Follow @sibzianna View all posts by Ajai Dittmar

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