Hardy City Council met in its regular bi-monthly meeting Oct 19. Guests for the evening meeting were representatives of both the United States Geological Survey and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The main topic was their presentations. Dan Wagner and Jaysson Funkhouser, representing the USGS, provided a very detailed description of the early flood warning systems installed in three locations, including the Hardy Bridge, Myatt Creek near Salem and at Cold Springs Curve in Mammoth Spring. These systems also monitor stream conditions and keep statistical analysis for future reference.,
These highly technical systems were something Hardy Mayor Nina Thornton was able to obtain for early detection of rising flood waters, conditions that might lead to flooding. After the 2006 Flood, Thornton began looking for ways to have these installed in the Hardy area. The city received a NOAA grant for $125,000 to install the systems. The city is responsible for the utilities and $45,000 yearly for maintenance and upkeep on the three systems.
Funkhauser addressed the cost stating that, on the Buffalo River, where they have the same type of systems, a portion of the cost was absorbed by a canoeing tax. Thornton said this was something that the city was looking at to assist with the cost in Hardy.
The equipment communicates through a satellite system and is updated in real time to the USGS Web site and alerts are sent when conditions reach a certain point and the city could be in danger. Thornton said during these times city officials can alert a list of home and property owners whose property may be damaged, giving ample time to evacuate if necessary.
Readings are taken by the devices and are relayed NOAA, which works hand in hand with the USGS, which in turn works with the weather service to issue warnings.
The most recent of the three early warning systems was installed in July, 2010 on Myatt Creek.
Following the USGS presentation, Tabitha Clark with NOAA presented the city with two "Turn Around Don't Drown" signs.
Following the presentation, audience members were given an opportunity to ask questions of the presenters. Mark Herring, a local business owner asked about the costs associated with the upkeep of the systems. Herring also noted the Buffalo River was a national riverway, unlike the Spring River.
A representative with the USGS stated there were incentives in the case of the Buffalo River sponsors of the system, including such things as their business name and logo being displayed on the USGS Web site.
Greg Bess also posed a question regarding the $45,000 yearly cost of maintaining the three systems, two of which are not in Hardy. Bess asked if there had been any talk with local outfitters about the canoe tax that could help pay for the maintenance and upkeep of the system. Thornton said the city was exploring some options and since the upcoming year was already paid for, there will be time to find a permanent solution later.
Under the new business, Joyce Drown addressed concerns about property line issues. Council agreed she should present her concerns to the planning and zoning commission at a later date.
Prior to adjournment, Thornton announced the city's annual Trail of Terror would be held Saturday Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. at th Historic Hardy Gym.
Hardy City Council holds bi-monthly meetings on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. The public is always welcome at these meetings.