From Illinois Business Journal news services
EDWARDSVILLE – By a vote of 24 to 2, the Madison County Board on Wednesday voted to authorize the Southwestern Illinois Flood Prevention District to issue up to $100 million in bonds to finance additional projects on the levee system which protects a significant portion of the county from the Mississippi River.
The projects will be designed during the 2016 fiscal year with construction scheduled to begin in 2017. The projects represent the final phase in the rehabilitation of the levee system by the Flood Prevention District. “These projects will ensure the levees meet the authorized 500-year standard of protection and provide a higher level of defense for our residents and their property” stated Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan.
The Southwestern Illinois Flood Protection District, which includes Madison, St. Clair and Monroe counties, is currently completing construction work to ensure the levees are in compliance with the 100-year protection standard. “Based on the work that has been done, we expect to receive FEMA certification in 2016,” Dunstan added.
Approximately $100 million has already been spent upgrading the flood prevention system. “A significant amount of money has and will continue to be spent on upgrading our levees,” Dunstan stated. “But when you consider the levees protect more than 100,000 county residents, their homes and businesses, it is critical that this investment is made.”
“Many of our region’s largest employers, and more than 50,000 jobs, are located within the area guarded by our levee system,” Dunstan said. “But in addition to protecting homes, businesses and jobs, without the improvements made to the levees residents would be forced to pay substantially higher insurance premiums. And despite our efforts to enhance economic development efforts in the area, no manufacturer or business would ever locate in the area if the levees were not certified, effectively killing any chance of attracting new businesses and creating new jobs for our residents.”