When it rains, it pours. And for some New Market residents, that means flooded backyards.
In the event of heavy rain, stormwater runs downhill from New Market Elementary School, at 93 W. Main St., and floods the properties east of the school that back up to North Alley.
It’s been going on for a long time, but it’s not an easy fix.
“These 10-year [rain] events are happening every year,” Mayor Winslow F. Burhans III said at last week’s Town Council meeting. “The town doesn’t have enough money to fix everyone’s water problem in a town that wasn’t built for situations like this.”
But they are making an effort.
A fire pond behind Town Hall on North Alley will be retrofitted to be a step pond, a major project included in the fiscal 2020 capital budget. The step pond will be outfitted with rocks, grass and steps into which the water can flow.
The North Alley Drainage project would significantly improve stormwater drainage to Emory and Strawberry alleys and First, Second and Fifth alleys, according to the town’s budget report.
The project will also be a starting point to enhance the historic district’s storm drainage system along the alleys north of Main Street.
The project has a total cost of $305,409, with $150,159 coming from grants.
“The town can dig up alleys to fix the problem,” Burhans said. “But the problem can’t be solved until the fire pond is completed, and it will take several years to complete.”
The town’s total Capital Improvement Plan budget is $561,423 for fiscal 2020. It anticipates a CIP budget of $1.6 million over the next three to four years, according to the budget report.
Both the CIP and operating budgets were unanimously approved at the town’s June meeting.
The town has anticipated revenue of slightly more than $1.03 million — an increase of $108,952 from the 2019 budget.
Taxes will not be raised. The increase mostly came from an increase in highway user revenue and grants applied for in fiscal 2019, according to the town’s budget report.
Of the million-dollar budget, anticipated expenses are projected to be about $573,000. The remaining approximately $458,000 is part of the unappropriated reserve — the excess revenue of expenditures.
Larger expenditures include about $109,000 for town clerk salaries, $195,362 for public works and $120,044 for waste collection.
The budget will go into effect on July 1.