County Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to stop funding an Army Corps of Engineer study into flooding issues in the Sparks and Lower Valley areas, and instead search for its own funding and solutions.
"It feels like using sandbags against a tidal wave," County Judge Veronica Escobar said. Escobar said colonias (unincorporated communities) in Far Southeast El Paso County need a bigger fix.
Last week, a representative from the Albuquerque office of the Army Corps of Engineers said the study had uncovered possible solutions that wouldn't meet standards for federal funding.
The incomplete study would have cost about $400,000 more to continue. The county has already spent about $1.5 million.
The county may now pursue other ways to fund flood control and stormwater drainage systems. A previously discussed option is petitioning the state legislature to let the county create a stormwater fee, similar to the one in the City. Counties generally can't create special fees.
By ending funding for the study, the county will get all of the research produced so far, in the hopes of using the information in any future attempts to fix the flooding issues.
The Army Corps of Engineers recommendations would have cost about $100 million to build, consisting largely of a series of dams along water routes leading from the eastern parts of the county towards the Rio Grande.