by Ted Stranczek, Copper Canyon Town Council Member, Place 2
As part of several new initiatives undertaken since Mayor Ron Robertson took office, I have been asked to review the progress of the Copper Canyon’s Road and Drainage Board and the many challenges we are facing. I serve on the Town Council and act as the Chairman of the Road & Drainage Board. The Board has reached out to the community at large to establish a grass roots approach to defining several key issues facing the Town. They are:
Road Maintenance and Construction: Historically, the Town required all roads to be constructed of concrete. Given our current tax base, this is no longer economically justifiable. The Board has requested that all future major roads be constructed of asphalt. Given the current drop in oil prices, this has proven to be a wise decision.
With the able assistance of Staff and Councilman Steve Hill, the Council was able to re-finance all our debt, saving the Town approximately $200,000 over the term of the loan. In addition, we obtained a low interest $700,000 Texas Tax Note to fund future road maintenance and drainage issues. Gary Vickery, our Town Engineer and I surveyed all the Town’s roads and submitted a report detailing current road maintenance and repair requirements. Tax Note funds were subsequently allocated to perform all required crack sealing and repairs to damaged sections of our roads. In addition, Denton County and TxDOT have approved the repaving of the north section of Chinn Chapel Road. Bids will soon be requested and re-construction begun as early as this summer.
The Town’s three bridges were also inspected. With the exception of Meadow Bridge, all were found to be is acceptable condition. Meadow Bridge, however, is in need of specific repairs. Bids have been requested to complete the required repairs by the end of Summer.
Drainage and Flood Mitigation: Copper Canyon is a rural community which relies solely on street ditches and culverts to control stormwater drainage. Poindexter Creek and its many branches provide the remainder of drainage, stormwater run-off and flood mitigation.
Proper drainage and flood mitigation are the major issues facing Copper Canyon today. The Town is surrounded on all sides by high density housing developments. Storm water runoff from neighboring jurisdictions has compromised the Town’s ability for natural flood mitigation. Many of our farm ponds, ditches and culverts have been compromised by years of sediment accumulation and lack of proper care. Currently, residents and homeowners are responsible to keep their ditches and culverts clean and free from debris. The Town will have to develop a better process by which our ditches and culverts are brought up to Code. The Board is working on several funding methods to mitigate this specific drainage problem.
Statewide Flood Mitigation has caught the attention of our Legislature in Austin. Last year HB 7 and HB 8 were passed which will allocate over $790 million from the Texas Rainy-Day Fund for developing statewide flood mitigation, drainage, watershed mapping, hydrologic studies and numerous financial assistance programs. Every watershed region in the State will be mapped and all counties will have to have a flood mitigation plan by 2024. The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) will manage this Fund.
The Board has initiated contact with the Texas Water Development Board in an effort to seek funding for flood mitigation efforts in our Town. We are presently preparing an Application for Financial Assistance from the TWDB. Planning and mitigation efforts to control flooding along Poindexter Creek will be the primary focus of this Application. Flood Mitigation Programs will take on a new character in that most funding will mandate cooperative participation by all town’s and jurisdictions bordering a specific watershed region (river/creek/flood plain) affected by flooding and/or requiring flood mitigation assistance. The Board is presently reaching out to our neighboring jurisdictions to facilitate a joint financial assistance effort.
In addition to the above funding request, Gary Vickery, our Town Engineer is requesting funding for the preparation of a Preliminary Flood Mitigation Survey of Poindexter Creek. This will assist the Town in seeking additional financial assistance. It may also provide the landowners bordering Poindexter Creek short-term relief and identify remedial mitigation for those experiencing occasional flooding and land loss due to soil erosion.
The Town is experiencing a very positive growth in residential development. Unfortunately, this expansion has a significant impact on Poindexter Creek due to the increase in stormwater runoff. Converting farm land to residential use increases the need for directed downstream analysis of stormwater runoff. This may require additional retention and detention ponds be added to planned residential land developments. Such careful land resource management will have a significant positive impact on controlling drainage and future flood mitigation requirements.
The Staff and Council fully recognizes the importance of protecting and preserving the safety and property values of our residents through prudent management of the Town’s financial resources. Much work and proper planning will be required to mitigate these problems. This will be a protracted process; however, your Council is committed to a successful and timely resolution to these drainage issues.