Luther Residents Hit Hard By Winter Flooding Again

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LUTHER, Iowa -- Instead of shovels and snow blowers, January rain has residents in Boone County worried they may have to start pumping water out of their homes.

“The sump pump is going every 12 seconds and that's keeping up with [flooding],” said Kristen Hethcott, whose Luther home flooded last month.

Luther is one of the few cities in Iowa without a citywide sewer system, but that's not what city officials are blaming for some of the recent flooding problems.

Mayor Cindy Miller the decades-old problem is due to inadequate tile systems, which she says has become far worse because of a local business’ renovation last year.

“During an expansion project by the motorcycle shop, storm tile was removed. There was no permit for anybody to work in this alley,” Miller said. “They have raised ground, and the water now runs onto everybody else’s property that surrounds their property.”

The business, BFE Vintage Motorcycles, says Miller’s claims are false.

“We have valid permits for the work performed. Our small amount of work has not contributed to the flooding of Luther. Everyone in Luther knows the flooding issues have been present for years, back to days after E57 was built” said Tanya Doyle, co-owner of the business.

Residents have grown frustrated that a recent proposal to replace the tiles underneath the city is being kicked down the road.

“Quit putting it off. Each council meeting says they’ll talk about it next council meeting,” Hethcott said.

Two new city council members are being sworn in Tuesday, and Miller feels a change is coming.

“I’m hoping the council votes on Tuesday to go forward, and start soliciting bids and working on this project as fast as possible."

Miller said that if the city council votes in favor of tile project they could begin as soon as this spring after the bid proposal process.

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