The Minot City Council didn't waste much time Tuesday in rejecting a proposal to create a new advisory flood plain for the city. The council absolutely did the right thing for Minot's longterm flood recovery process.
Council members voted 13-0 at a special noon meeting not to ask the Federal Emergency Management Agency to create an Advisory Base Flood Elevation of 9,600 cubic feet per second, which would have been in place until FEMA creates a permanent flood plain in the next three to five years. The current flood plain is 5,000 cfs.
Council members really had little choice, despite the lure of millions of dollars in federal funding. Asking for a new flood plain would have made the city eligible for up to $30 million to $35 million in federal hazard mitigation funds, usable for voluntary buyouts of homes in the valley. But the new flood plain would have come with strict construction rules and the inability to build permanent structures of any kind on lots purchased with those funds.
The potential restrictions were overbearing and unacceptable, and we're happy the council wasn't blinded by the potential of millions in federal funding. The money simply wasn't worth the limitations and baggage it would have entailed. The city and the council still have much work to do as the flood recovery process continues, but Tuesday's decision was one made with a longterm view of Minot in mind.