Facing a long list of emergency storm drain repairs, the City Council has unanimously approved spending $236,700 for help from a private engineering firm.
"I think it's important we get this ball rolling as quickly as possible," Councilman Scott Diehl said.
City storm drains suffered extensive damage during the winter storms this year, and officials have identified 41 repair projects. Of that number, nine have been completed, and another 24 are considered top priorities for completion by the next rainy season.
"We came to the realization that we could not get nearly enough work done this year in-house," community development director James Holloway told the council last week.
With the help of an engineering firm, the city will be able to get as much work on the list as possible done by the next rainy season, a critical task if the city is to avoid more damage, Holloway said.
Under emergency powers granted by the council, city officials will set up a quick interview process involving three engineering firms before selecting one for the job.
Once hired, the firm will help design the storm drain projects, including doing geological reports and construction surveys.
Officials plan to hire a firm by July 21, have designs for the various projects drawn up for review by Aug. 16 and start construction by mid-September, Holloway said.
Money for the engineering firm will be borrowed from the city's drainage fund accounts and paid back later from unidentified funds.
The city also has applied for about $1.2 million in federal emergency funds, Holloway said.