Bring on the rain! Shumway has City of Pratt flood insurance rates well in hand

Fran Brownell
Pratt Tribune
Rain in Pratt is a welcome site most days, especially with city employee Lola Shumway in charge of city floodplain management insurance.

Floodplain management and pipe needed for improved drainage at the Pratt Industrial Park topped the Pratt City Commission agenda at their regular meeting Monday, May 3 at City Hall Commission Chambers.

Mayor Gary Schmidt presided with Commissioners Zach Deeds, Jeanette Siemens, Don Peters and Kyle Farmers all in attendance.

Lola Shumway, who oversees floodplain management for the city, reviewed with commissioners the proposed 21-page floodplain management ordinance, which was unanimously adopted.

Shumway said that the city’s rating will remain at the save level with a ranking of seven, which is a factor in flood insurance rates for property owners.

Mayor Schmidt commended Shumway on her diligence in overseeing the program.

“We were at a 10, when we weren’t in it at all, then I got us to an eight the first time and then down to a seven,” Shumway said.

“I knew you brought us down and I appreciate it—everybody in the city appreciates it,” Peters said.

The ranking of seven means that property owners in the flood zone will save 15 percent on flood insurance and those whose property is not in the flood zone will save an extra five percent on already reduced premiums.

The complete ordinance is available for public review on the Pratt City website—

Pratt Public Works Director Russ Rambat shared with commissioners a plan to improve a drainage problem to prevent flooding in the Industrial Park in the north section of town and was given approval for the purchase of 220 feet of 48-inch drainage pipe and hardware, priced at $16,500.00 for the first stage of the project.

“There really was never a solid plan to collect and remove these rain events, so this area is prone to flooding,” Rambat said, adding that one of the landowners will  install the pipe, if the city  purchases it.

“We can make this purchase without disrupting our current budgeting needs,” Rambat said.

Rambat used an overhead projector to illustrate the layout of the land and reviewed plans to alleviate the draining problem.

Plans, Rambat said, involve cutting a drainage ditch in the northeast corner of the Industrial Park to take the water northeast along the north side of the Union Pacific railroad tracks to a natural drainage area through the Sandy Creek subdivision area and flow under the new bridge on Maple Street and continue south.

“I am having EBH & Associates do a minimal ditch profile for us to be sure it flows correctly before any pipe is installed,” Rambat said.

Electric Utility Director Jamie Huber’s request for engineering services, not over $40,000, to replace a transmission pole on the city’s 115KV line, was also approved.

“The existing wood pole was damaged and broke years ago,” Huber said.

 “We have been pressing our luck with the temporary job that was done to keep it standing.”

Huber said plans are for the damaged wood pole to be replaced with a self-supporting steel pole, stating that his department has been budgeting for the engineering services and that the soil profile for the location, which was not specified, has been completed.

The request did not include purchase or installation of the steel pole.

“Right now we’re just purchasing the pole,” City Manager Bruce Pinkall confirmed.

Representing the Ninnescah Opioid Workforce (NOW) Coalition, DeWayne Bryan and Stacy Hanson apprised commissioners of a $200,000 federal grant to Pratt Regional Medical Center to set up workgroups in Pratt, Barber, Kiowa, Stafford, Edwards and Kiowa counties for the purpose of developing and implementing strategies to combat opioid abuse.

Bryan said their research has shown that there are  more prescriptions written in this area than the state average and also for higher level of prescriptions.

“The number of opioid prescriptions and the level opioid prescription in this area is extremely high in Pratt and the counties around us,” Bryan said.

Three main areas of the NOW Coalition, according to Hanson are prevention, treatment and outline support.

“There are some significant gaps on the preventions side,” Hanson said.

Lack of crisis services is also an issue, Hanson said.

“There are no in-patient treatment facilities in the whole seven-county region” Hanson said. “No place to detox.”

In other business, commissioners reappointed Chris Himmelwright to an additional four-year term on the Pratt Public Library Board.

Commissioners concluded their meeting with an announced 45-minute executive session, called by Mayor Schmidt.