D'Iberville apartments flood again, city leaders frustrated over lack of funding

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) -  Pictures taken over the weekend showed the water filling up the parking lot at the Arbor View Apartments in D'Iberville.  During the heavy thunderstorms, more than 40 cars flooded and 34 units received about an inch of water.

"No one should flood at Arbor View. There's no reason to. But MEMA and FEMA's got to get off their butts and get something to happen," said Richard Rose.

Rose is one frustrated and angry city manager. He says in 2007, the city requested $980,000 in Hazard Mitigation Funds from MEMA to replace the drainage pipes around the Arbor View complex and the nearby Forest Cove subdivision.

"They promised to release the money within nine months, and it's two years later, they haven't released a dime," said Rose.  "It's a non-stop, political, low-level bureaucracy that needs to change because it's hurting the people of D'Iberville."

"This could have been prevented as a basic city service," said DeAnna Cannette.

As the Arbor View property manager, Cannette says the city should have taken steps to stop the flooding problem years ago.  Cannette says the complex owner even offered to pay to replace the pipes near the property, but the city refused.

"We feel the city is to blame," said Cannette.  "It is very negligent on their part because they have been aware of this problem since 2001."

Rose, however, says the drainage improvements that Arbor View wanted to make would not solve the entire drainage problem in the area. He added that Arbor View has its own drainage issues to repair.

"Arbor View's pipe is too small," Rose said.  "They were required to have a 42 inch pipe. They only put in a 30 inch pipe."

Arbor View's manager says the company installed the pipes that were required by the city.

In the meantime, the city has come up with a temporary fix in hopes of relieving some of the flooding problems.  The city is spending $40,000 to lay larger pipes along Automall Parkway, near the apartment complex.  The work should begin sometime next week.

"It might help.  It might mitigate some, but it's not the final answer to their problem," said Rose.

MEMA Director Mike Womack says the city has not given MEMA all the information it needs, including documents that show that the apartment complex and nearby homes have flooded repeatedly.

And a FEMA spokesman issued this statement: "FEMA has not received a request from the city for Hurricane Katrina related drainage problems. FEMA can only provide assistance for hurricane related damages and does not fund general drainage improvements. FEMA has obligated funds towards all identified Hurricane Katrina projects in the City of D'Iberville. Funds obligated are administered by the state and provided to the city as work is completed."

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