NewsPinellas County


Largo leaders plea for state funding to tackle sewage spills, flooding

Posted at 6:03 PM, Dec 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-27 18:03:37-05

LARGO, Fla. -- Largo is making a desperate plea to state leaders for money to help with flooding and sewage overflows.

As state legislators get ready to go back into session on January 14, Largo leaders want to ensure their projects get funded.

It’s something Michael Karash wants to see too. The Largo resident lives in the Mariners Cove Mobile Home Park and estimates the neighborhood has flooded around 40 times in the 52 years he has lived there.

“The water gets up to here,” Karash said pointing to his chest. “It’s frustrating because they shut the electric off, you lose all your food plus the water gets into your place and ruins everything.”

Tropical Storms Colin and Emily brought so much water into Mariners Cove that firefighters had to rush in to rescue dozens of families.

“I wish somebody would do something,” Karash said with a sigh.

Largo leaders are using flooding examples to appeal to state leaders for more than a half a million dollars in funding.

Woody Brown, Largo’s Mayor says the money would help the city tackle both stormwater flooding and sewage overflows which causes water to spew out of sewer covers and into neighborhoods and local waterways.

“So we’re looking at issues that have been overlooked for years where it’s the standard that it floods when it rains. Well, we’re saying now that we can fix that,” Brown added.

Retention ponds are a big part of the solution. Largo wants at least $300,000 for land where they can build more ponds to hold stormwater.

Largo also wants to focus on flood prone neighborhoods and business corridors in the Keene Park Neighborhood, along Clearwater-Largo Road and in the Medical Arts District.

If state leaders don’t pitch in soon, Mayor Brown says the city could be forced to raise stormwater rates.

“It costs a lot of money. We’ve spent millions of dollars already,” Brown elaborated.

Karash desperately hopes state leaders are paying attention. It makes him sick to think about he or his neighbors having to replace the items in his home— yet again.

“You may replace the items and maybe a year from now, it’ll do the same thing,” he said with a sigh.

Largo has not had much luck getting a piece of the state budget in previous years, despite an increased effort to lobby legislators. This upcoming session, city leaders have partnered with Rep. Chris Latvala and Rep. Nick DiCeglie to sponsor the projects.