Letter: County needs to come together to solve flooding problem
One of my first jobs was as an agricultural intern for U.S. Senator Rudy Boschwitz, in Washington D.C. It was there that I learned firsthand that all decisions have pros and cons. It is the job of elected officials to weigh all the information and create solutions through policy.
In making decisions, I try to use the Rotary 4-Way Test, which asks the following questions: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Does it build goodwill and better friendship? And, is it beneficial to all concerned?
Confronted with reoccurring high water, the serious flooding has become a dire emergency for many people in our county. There should be no question that the people of Otter Tail County need to come together and address this emergency with immediacy. We have a problem that needs to be solved. Ignoring it will not make it go away.
We need to act with a spirit of cooperation and support. We need to set aside the time consuming rhetoric and delay tactics that impede an honest, engineered solution whereby we can move water in an orderly manner that protects downstream interests while still giving relief to flooded areas.
It is frightening to imagine the growing negative affects if we do nothing. We have so much at risk including public safety, school busing, emergency access and road safety to name a few. The damage to property and the environment is significant. Lakes are at risk and people are desperate. We can't just sit back and do nothing.
By venting the water during drier times, the lakes will become reservoirs to handle increased water. If we act now, we have the ability to handle and control future high water and reduce potential problems to downstream neighbors. It is best to have an orchestrated plan of releasing water downstream using a series of gates and valves with scientifically set opening and closing points.
In Otter Tail County we have a tremendous history of community and cooperation. I ask that each and every one of you, please help contribute to a solution or accept the solution. We have visited these issues many times and had a solution been in place, this wouldn't be an issue today.
Commissioner, District 1
Otter Tail County