OTTAWA - The Putnam County Commissioners have decided not to provide funding toward Ottawa’s request for flood mitigation expenses they have sustained.
The commissioners sent a letter last week to Ottawa Village Council stating they were “unable to reach a consensus therefore your request will not be funded.” Members of the Ottawa Flood Mitigation Steering Committee met twice in December with the commissioners requesting they pay a share of the mitigation study costs the village had already paid. The out-of-pocket expenses Ottawa reported were a total of $446,000 as of Dec. 20. The Ottawa officials were requesting the county pay 45 percent of these costs.The letter said the request had been debated and the “deliberation has been intense and sometimes very heated.”Commissioner John Love said he was always in favor of providing some type of financial assistance for the mitigation expenses. “I felt the flooding impacted our county including businesses and residences,” he said.Love said 38 percent of the county is in the Blanchard Watershed.“I was not sure I was willing to provide the share they requested, but felt we should do something,” he said.Commissioner Travis Jerwers was against the funding. “We represent the entire county and have to think about that,” he said. He also said the county was providing assistance in the flood mitigation by providing funding for river cleanup.During a December meeting with Ottawa officials, Commissioner Vincent Schroeder had reminded the Ottawa steering committee members the county had spent more than $400,000 since 2007 in funding that goes to the Blanchard River Watershed toward river cleanup, grass strips along river, equipment, and labor.Jerwers also said “a lot of people want to see more action instead of study.”Love said the county officials have been receiving a lot of reaction from other areas of the county, including letters, stating their opposition to providing funding for Ottawa without providing for flooding problems in other communities.“The Commissioners are committed to flood mitigation and will continue to fund the Soil and Water Conservation District as well as the Blanchard River Watershed Partnership,” the letter said.