City officials issued a blanket request Thursday that area residents participate in a proposed public meeting with the Grand River Dam Authority.
“It is important that our voices be heard, said Miami City Manager Michael Spurgeon.
Though no date has been set, Congressman Dan Boren said this week that the authority is willing to meet Miami residents publicly. He said Tuesday in a town hall meeting that he would facilitate a meeting between GRDA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
In a 1 p.m. press conference held Thursday, Spurgeon asked residents to plan to attend the meeting “if, and when, it happens.
The city manager indicated that, though only a portion of property owners had water on their property when the Neosho River swelled into Miami, frustrations from the floodwaters and the reality of loss to the community was widespread.
“We have all been impacted by this flood, Spurgeon said. “We have all had to deal with the traffic jams on 22nd Avenue and we have all seen the loss of structures on Steve Owens Boulevard.
Spurgeon asked that everyone participate if given an opportunity to publicly address GRDA.
Prior to the press conference, Spurgeon said he wants a public meeting that will allow residents a true opportunity to address their questions.
“If it is going to be a meeting where members of the audience write their questions on a piece of paper and then have to wait for a response in writing, we are not interested, Spurgeon said. “I want there to be a chance to ask follow-up questions based on responses from previous questions.
Miami Mayor Brent Brassfield said that, though the flood of July 2007 was likely unavoidable, no one is really talking about a flood event that occurred less than a month prior
That June event did not put water into homes, but did force water over Oklahoma Highway 125 and out of the Grand River Dam Authority's flowage easements, according to city officials.
“It seems like we are getting used to flooding - that is not a good thing, Brassfield said. “I am resolved to addressing these flood issues. There is a solution.
City officials have said that “a battle is coming with regard to the entities that control Pensacola Dam and make decisions which elevate the risk of flooding in and around Miami.
“I am sick of this, Brassfield said, noting that the battle is much like the story of David and Goliath.“I am tired of taking three steps forward and four steps back. I am ready. I am ready (to fight.)
Also noted in Thursday's press conference were the following:
City crews have delivered 930 dump truck loads of flood debris to the staging area.
Aug. 31 is the end of curbside pickup of residential flood debris.
$3.9 million, approximately 50 percent of Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance issued statewide, has been processed through the Disaster Recovery Center in Miami.
Sept. 5 is the deadline to register flood claims at the recovery center in Miami.
Those who register a claim through the recover center and receive a denial letter can return to the center for further explanation and information regarding appeal.
All residents who issue a claim are encouraged to also submit a Small Business Administration application for assistance. Failure to do so will halt some additional forms of assistance.
The City of Miami has issued 433 building permits.
Red tags have been issued to 135 property owners.
Evaluations are not complete on four properties.
An estimated 96 families have expressed interest in moving into temporary housing trailers.
Pads have been identified for setting up 39 trailers. Sixteen units are in town. Six more were expected to be in town by Thursday evening. Four trailers are set up and ready for occupancy.
The mobile home trailers are built to regulations mandated by Housing and Urban Development. FEMA officials say formaldehyde is only a concern in the travel trailers which, due to their size, are do not have to be built to meet HUD requirements.