One year ago, we all witnessed the power of water. Then, we saw the power of working together. Our community was hit hard by the 2013 flooding and is rebuilding. Much has been done, but there is still much to do.
The emergency response spearheaded by Gov. John Hickenlooper, who mobilized the Colorado National Guard and numerous state agencies to protect public safety and begin the process of rebuilding, was fantastic. The efforts of our local governments and community volunteers also deserve the highest praise.
Your local state legislators also quickly focused on the task at hand, changing state laws to improve disaster recovery and appropriating funds to restore streams, rebuild affordable housing and repair damaged water treatment infrastructure, among other worthy causes. I was proud to be involved with those efforts.
A great deal of work remains, however. Recovery is a slow and long-term process. Many roads and bridges have reopened but are not permanently fixed. Some people are still out of their homes. Resiliency planning for the next flood has just begun. It will take many more years before we are back to normal.
In the meantime, we can continue to support our community flood recovery efforts. Please consider participating in Colorado United Day of Service on Saturday, Sept. 13. Opportunities include rebuilding homes and a playground in Longmont, a cycling fundraiser in Lyons and many other events in between. Colorado United Day is a great way to come together and benefit areas that still need a lot of help. More information about it can be found at coloradounited.com.
There are also plenty of ways to get involved throughout the year with the Boulder County and Longmont long-term flood recovery groups. And the county and cities are continually seeking public input on recovery efforts through community meetings and town halls.
Another way to support flood recovery is by casting your vote in November. Boulder County voters will decide whether to support a sales tax increase of 0.185 cents per dollar for five years. All the proceeds from this temporary increase would go to pay unmet needs related to road and bridge repair, home and business assistance and other vital flood recovery projects. After all of the federal and state assistance is added up, and all of the existing county budgeting is exhausted, there is still a $56 million shortfall for the recovery projects so important to our community. The proposed temporary sales tax increase would cover most of that shortfall and make sure we get back to normal as quickly as possible.
The 2013 flooding was devastating, but Boulder County will recover stronger than ever if we work together. We came together as a community one year ago and have made great progress since then. Our continued collaboration will ensure we do the same over the next year too.
State Rep. Mike Foote’s House District 12 includes Louisville, Lafayette and part of Longmont. Foote, a resident of Lafayette, is a Democrat.