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Why are we spending millions of dollars on new storm drain systems?
February 21, 2018

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Why are we spending millions of dollars on new storm drain systems?

To the Editor:

In December, I reached out to the Town of Fort Myers Beach for a request to have two storm drains on my street cleaned. Last rainy season, my bedroom flooded seven times because I had 8 inches of water on my property, due to the nearby storm drains backing up. The town's response was that there was a plan to have a contractor clean out storm drains on the island, but funding was limited, so they were not sure how many drains could get cleaned. More recently, the town has told me that the storm drain cleaning project is now "on hold" because the funding that was supposed to be utilized for the drainage cleanout is being allocated to other projects and the town is waiting for FEMA funding.

Why are we spending millions of dollars on new storm drain systems if we do not even have the money to maintain our existing systems? This sounds like a multimillion dollar band-aid fix that will only create a bigger issue in the future. We are spending so much money to install new drains that will eventually get clogged, only to not have enough money to maintain them after the project is finished. In just a few years we may be back with the same flooding problems and millions of dollars wasted. What will be the increased maintenance costs for all of the new drains being put in? Where will that money come from?

Maybe the answer to our issues are right below our feet: years old storm drain systems clogged, overgrown, and covered up that just need to be cleared out. The solution should not be to install new systems that we do not have the money for and cannot afford to maintain. I encourage you to talk to your neighbors and look around your house. We found a couple of drains on our street the town did not even know existed. Find them, and notify the town so they can survey and maintain our current systems.

Chris Mosteiro

Fort Myers Beach

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