Council hears residents’ local flooding concerns

Despite meetings and concern from the city of Champaign, West Hill Street residents continue to deal with flooding in their area.

“I have two small girls at home and they cannot play in their own backyard,” said Champaign resident Sean Murphy at the Champaign City Council meeting on Tuesday.

Three West Hill Street residents voiced their concerns regarding flooding during the audience participation portion of the meeting.

“West Hill Street floods every time it rains hard,” Murphy said.

Water moves down Church Street, down New Street alley and ends up in the backyards and basements on West Hill Street, according to many at the meeting.

Additionally, because of the aged, small drain, the street is also having a problem with raw sewage.

The Council has proposed a solution, but said it was long-term and years from being implemented.

With the increased amount of rainfall recently, citizens are frustrated with the city’s current solution. Dist. 1 Councilman William Kyles assured them that although the city is dealing with many issues, they are concerned about the flooding problem.

“There’s a lot of things on the table, but we do care. I care,” said Kyles. “I take personal responsibility and plan on getting out there and working on that tomorrow.”

In addition, with the city of Champaign’s budget’s formal approval scheduled for June 16, the city council is feeling pressure to review the final components.

The obstacle, however, is that a new city supervisor, Pamela Borowski, was recently elected and said she is struggling to fully understand all of the budget’s allocations.

Councilman At-Large Tom Bruno, voiced concerns on Tuesday that with only a portion of the information, the Council would be making an uninformed decision about the budget.

Although changes will most likely be made after it passes, the Council chose to approve the moving forward of the budget.

“We’re in a place, schedularily, that we have to pass a budget,” said Councilwoman At-Large Deborah Feinen. “Looking at it, it doesn’t look that different from last year.”

Following the approval of the budget, the Council passed a series of ordinances and resolutions, including an ordinance for special event permits this summer that would close off streets and allow the consumption of alcohol in designated areas.

The Council also approved a resolution for monitoring the installation of a well at the former Champaign Municipal Landfill.

The time frame of the monitoring is currently open ended.

“We’ll probably want to monitor (the site) for a long time to ensure that there’s no chance of contamination for future generations,” said Steven Carter, city manager.