On Friday, Russ Pry declared a state of emergency due to the extensive flooding from the torrential rain last week. As the Summit County executive reminded, such a declaration does not guarantee federal or state assistance. It is the first step in seeking such help.
This hardly was the first episode of flood damage in the area, residents assessing the ruin of basements and other areas of their property, parks contending with the wreckage along trails, city crews clearing debris. The severity of the rainfall highlighted familiar vulnerabilities and, more, the increasing risk in failing to address adequately the problems in many parts of the county with storm water overflows.
The matter long has been a topic of conversation in county government and elsewhere. The challenge has been organizing to take action in a comprehensive way. Which points to the proposed 0.25 percent sales tax increase to fund a downtown arena and route resources to the county jail and other priorities.
A big job for proponents of the tax increase in winning voter approval is showing how the money would be put to good use. Might the development of a storm water repair fund be part of the package? The county would distribute the money based on need and the quality of the project. The benefits would be spread wide, and include greater protection against cost and misery.