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Residents say Watertown flood relief isn’t enough

Some Watertown residents in East Moline say help offered from the city might not be enough.

Even during bad times all you can do is laugh. That’s Rosendo Terronez’s motto at least, as his basement flooded for the second time.

“What else can you do? That’s all you can do,” said Terronez.

“I know that probably all of you in the room are frustrated, many of you are very angry,” said Cole O’Donnell, City Administrator.

It was a room packed full of people listening to the options at a meeting Tuesday, July 8, 2014. The city plans to distribute more than $160,000 in grant money to help replace water heaters and furnaces.

It’s good news for Terronez, but not good news for everyone.

Most of the available assistance is for low-income families.  The plan doesn’t address the repeated history of flooding in this area.

“Our house, you know, can’t keep taking this. This foundation pressure with this water. People’s houses are being diminished. The value of property’s going down. It’s not beneficial to live in this area,” one homeowner said at the meeting.

A clogged pump couldn’t keep up with the rising waters, leading frustrated homeowners to butt heads over the issues. A problem everyone’s sure will happen again.

“We cannot guarantee this will not happen again,” said O’Donnell.

It’s a problem for which, Terronez says, he can only try to prepare.

“This is still home. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. A little water is not going to stop me,” said Terronez.

The city will reimburse up to $100 for service charges, and up to $2,500 for replacement, for water heaters and furnaces damaged in the flood.