FARMINGTON — Farmington City Council in its Tuesday work session approved spending $795,000 to brace the city for fall monsoons.
Since 2010, Farmington has spent or is planning to spend more than $9.2 million recovering from and preparing for monsoons, according to city documents.
"That's a lot of taxpayer money that's been invested in improvements into our flood mitigation system," City Manager Rob Mayes said.
The $795,000 will fund the construction of grated inlets, storm sewers, concrete stream beds, dirt berms and other improvements to the following locations: Tarry Terrace and Greenwood Drive; Villa View Drive; Main Street and Rancho De Animas Circle; Beech Street; Gila Street; Hood Arroyo south of Main Street; Edgecliff Drive; Sierra Vista Drive and Hubbard Road; and Criterion Street.
Council also directed city staff to examine options for lessening flooding near Northern Foothills and stabilizing Hood Arroyo banks running through Crestwood Estates near Hogan Avenue.
Matt Dodson, Tommy Robert's mayoral opponent, attended Tuesday's meeting. Afterward, he said the city wouldn't have to spend money now if it had required Crestwood Estates' developer to build a detention pond when constructing the development.
He said the city allowed the developer to instead expand quickly by granting a waiver, and now that's costing the city money.
"The council needs to, in general, start sticking to long-term statutes and not granting waivers," Dodson said.
The city should have required the developer to build a detention pond in the beginning to lessen the flooding arroyo, he said.
"Now it's a legal matter costing the city money," Dodson said.
If the subdivision expanded farther to the north, the developer would need to build a detention pond, Mayes said.
When reached by phone, Roberts declined to address Dodson's comments.
At Tuesday's work session, Water and Wastewater Administrator Jeff Smaka played video of the aftermath of a monsoon that swept through Crouch Mesa and Farmington last year.
In the videos, coffee-colored water washed over parking lots, streets and parks. In one clip, a fire truck was parked bumper-deep at the Alon Gas Station on East Main Street.
Smaka said where Porter Arroyo flows under Main Street water overwhelmed and crushed a 72-inch culvert like a soda can.
"Just a very hard downpour in a very short duration," he said. "A flash flood event."
The storm caused an estimated $2 million in damages, and Mayes expects the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to reimburse the city 90 percent of what it will spend.
Three years earlier, in August 2010, another monsoon swept through the city, causing $3.5 million in damage, 90 percent of which FEMA covered, Mayes said.
Now, the city is seeking $1.5 million in state capital outlay funds to build a flood-water detention pond along Porter Arroyo.
Mayes said the city will solicit bids for construction of that pond and another one at the Carl Arroyo off Lakewood Drive. But first, he said, he must confirm that bidding wouldn't eliminate pending state capital outlay funding for the Porter Arroyo pond.
The Carl Arroyo pond will cost about $1 million, according to city documents. The pond will be funded as part of a $9 million bonding project, Mayes said.
City Engineer Nica Westerling said it's unlikely the Porter Arroyo will receive FEMA funding because to receive the money, the city would have to prove that about $240 million of damage could have been prevented with the pond.
Without funding, a construction bid would be "disingenuous," Mayes said.
But Councilor Jason Sandel said the city must place its bid as soon as possible. The legislative session could take a month to end. The bidding process will take another month. The Porter Aroya detention pond's construction is estimated to take four months.
"And rains come when?" Sandel asked.
Roberts said August is when the rain comes.
"It seems to me that time is of the essence," Sandel said.