Legal Fees Mount In Big Island Levee Dispute - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Legal Fees Mount In Big Island Levee Dispute

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New development versus flood protection.

That's the essence of the fight over the Big Island levee.

Milan and Big Island both say they have the final say over the Big Island Levee.

Rock Island argues it can have the final say after condemning part of it.

All believe they're doing what's best for their taxpayers, but it's taxpayers who are paying for the court fight.

Milan and Big Island want to make sure the levee doesn't lose its accreditation, that would force anyone living behind the levee to buy flood insurance if they have a mortgage.

They're also trying to make sure a process that's been in place since the late 70's doesn't change.

Namely, any changes to the levee have to go through each of them.

Total cost for milan so far- $44,691.

Rock Island wants to be able to modify the levee to build its road, opening up access for a shopping destination.

That would potentially anchor the destination for Jumer's Casino across the interstate, but would also generate millions of dollars of new sales tax money if the developments come in.

Total cost to Rock Island- $141,647

Residents are split on the cost.

Some see it as an investment, some say the money could be better spent now.

"We had a really bad winter, a lot of the snow plows tore up a lot of our streets, so I just feel like instead of them spending the money on a levee they could be spending it fixing up streets, fixing up the community," says Rock Island Resident Tanisha Douglas.

"It is helping the community and if it's helping make things look better for our town then I think it was a good spent," says Rock Island Resident Pam Howe.

The legal expenses may continue to climb as well even after the judge issues a ruling.

There are a couple different paths the case could travel.

Either side can appeal a decision that goes against them.

The case might also find its way into federal court.

The longer it's in the courts, the more money every group has to spend to keep arguing.

It has been 20 days since the court heard the case.

The judge has not said when she'll issue a ruling.

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