Lee flood study nears completion

LEESBURG, Ga. -- Todd Lanier with Lanier Engineering told Leesburg city officials Tuesday night his company has completed computer modeling for a FEMA flood study that will likely move county residents out of the flood plain and keep them from having to purchase expensive flood insurance.

The study, jointly financed by Lee County and the cities of Leesburg and Smithville, was approved last year when FEMA's flood mapping moved a number of homes into the flood plain that had not previously been there. Properties in the plain are required to carry flood insurance.

"We've done the computer modeling, and now we're putting together the documentation for FEMA," Lanier said. "It looks like there are a number of homes, especially on Groover, that are currently in the flood plain that will come out."

Lanier said he expects FEMA to take "three to four months" to approve the study when asked by City Clerk Casey Moore for a time frame. He said his company expects to have the required documentation to FEMA "in a month or so."

The City Council considered a motion by Councilwoman Judy Powell to approve a $3,500 employee compensation/classification study, which would be conducted by The Mercer Group.

During discussion, it was noted that the proposed study could "open a can of worms" after Mayor Jim Quinn said that the council would have to decide whether to adhere to the findings. Powell later rescinded her motion.

"This is an opportunity to piggyback off the county's study (previously approved by the Lee County Commission)," she said. "We won't get a better price."

Opal Cannon, the chairwoman of the city's Historic Depot Restoration Committee, offered advice on improving the looks of the downtown district.

"We won't get far if we don't inspire the citizens to get involved, and I don't like (an architect's) proposal to move the Depot," Cannon said. "If we do that, it will lose its authenticity. It's been in that spot since 1895."

The council meeting, which was presided over by "If I Were Mayor" essay contest winner Tyler McConnell, a sixth-grader at Lee Middle School, was adjourned after the board voted to seek requests for proposals on water and sewer for a planned new elementary school off Robert B. Lee Drive.