Help coming for flood impacted Pasco areas

Posted at 5:34 PM, Dec 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-22 17:34:41-05
Some much needed work to upgrade the storm water system in Pasco County is happening now.
The county approved reallocating $300,000 in storm water assessment fees to pay for specialized projects in areas that had severe flooding this summer. But some residents impacted by the high water worry it's not nearly enough.
Cortney King is glad to see his cul-de-sac flood free. This summer, his area of Thousand Oaks was one of several Pasco County neighborhoods taken over by high water.
"It was very hard on a lot of people," King said.
Ever since that severe flooding, residents have begged Pasco County to do something to help. Now a contractor is clearing out debris on the Oak Ridge Canal. It's a crucial project to prevent Trinity Oaks and Thousand Oaks from future flooding.
"We've identified this as one project that we can do quickly. Clear this out so that if we do get another big rain, this water won't be blocked," said Doug Tobin, Pasco County public information officer.
And that's just the beginning. The county's starting to chip away at all the needed storm water improvements.  The challenge is finding the millions of dollars needed to pay for it all. 
"We want input from the citizens because sometimes they may have to see increased fees," said Tobin.
That's exactly what Cortney King fears.
"People in here have paid enough," said King.
He also worries the current projects are too little, too late. So King hopes the county gets creative in finding cash for bigger improvements to the drainage system, and soon.
"I'd like to see this maintained constantly, and that the county's making sure the communities are being kept up to date on what's been fixed and what's happening so that we're not wondering while we're in the midst of a problem why it's happening," King said.
The storm water improvements are far from over. The county is planning to host more public meetings to get input on how to pay for them, and it says every option is still on the table.