Sunday, March 3

Frustration grows as Fellsmere’s drainage woes mount following historic flooding

Dozens of people complained Thursday night to the Fellsmere City Council about a separate government entity called the Fellsmere Water Control District over their handling of drainage issues.

A rainstorm in November, which dropped around 14 inches of rain, flooded properties and damaged crops in the city. The flood led to people starting to organize against the water control district, which they said has a history of not performing maintenance on drainage.

WPTV contacted the Fellsmere Water Control District late Thursday night and hasn’t received a response by publication.

The email listed for Supervisor Rodney Tillman came back as undeliverable.

“My five-acre farm, right there, with horses ended up becoming one big lake,” Aranes Jose Edgardo said to city council. “It was all consolidated with the four other farms in the area. Again, not satisfactory where we are paying our taxes to go ahead and end up being at the water district and nothing happens.”

Matt Simmons, who said he lives in Fellsmere, said he hasn’t seen his ditch cleaned in the four years since he’s lived at his property. He said the ditch had started to cave into his property.

“I lost my house, part of my road and I stayed up for three days pumping water,” Simmons said. “So, everybody else would get water off their property, as well as mine. I didn’t have a choice. How in the world are you going to fix that big ditch?”

Mark Mathes, the city manager of Fellsmere, said the drainage problem is not the city’s responsibility, but the responsibility of the Fellsmere Water Control District. He said the city has struggled to schedule meetings with the control district.

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