Corps: No uncoded list of expenses for study available

By DENISE GRANT
STAFF WRITER

The Army Corps of Engineers’ Buffalo District says it doesn’t have a list of expenditures for the Blanchard River flood-control study without complicated coding.

In a letter received by The Courier on Thursday, the district said a search of its documents and computer files “indicates there are no records responsive to your request currently maintained in the district.”

In July 2013, The Courier, under the federal Freedom of Information Act, requested an itemized list of expenditures for the study, which, at the time, had cost about $6 million.

In January, the corps responded with two documents totaling 64 pages, itemizing the expenditures. But The Courier determined it could not report on the expenditures accurately and thoroughly due to the use of coding throughout.

In April, it requested a copy that clearly explains each expenditure in simple language, without the use of coding.

The letter Thursday was in reply to the April request.

Andrew Kornacki, a corps public affairs specialist, offered Thursday to work with the newspaper concerning questions about the document.

The document includes several pages of travel expenses. The newspaper has asked Kornacki and his team to tally travel expenses and to identify who is traveling and where.

Separately, the corps has not responded to The Courier’s Freedom of Information Act request on June 11 for copies of all public input it has gathered on the flood study.

Officials from the corps have said public input would be a consideration in the study.

During public meetings in December 2012, the corps said its potential ideas included a western diversion channel around Findlay.

It also disclosed other ideas, including a large water-detention area near the Camp Berry Boy Scout camp south of Findlay, and building a levee to stop the Blanchard River from overflowing into Lye Creek south of the Findlay reservoirs.

However, the levee would cause the flood level to increase in three eastern Findlay neighborhoods by about 2.5 inches, the corps said.

Corps plans in Ottawa involved modifying the I-9 bridge embankment, and creating a diversion channel there.
Cost estimates for potential flood-control projects have ranged from $111 million to $200 million.

The total cost of the study is expected to reach $9 million by 2016, the latest deadline for its completion. The corps and the Hancock County commissioners are splitting the cost of the study.

Grant: 419-427-8412
Send an E-mail to Denise Grant
Twitter: @CourierDenise

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