BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - For the first time ever, city, county, and state leaders are working together to fix a flooding issue in Beaufort. Several homes in the Mossy Oaks neighborhood flooded during Hurricane Matthew and again during Hurricane Irma.
The mayor admitted that leaders at all levels have been kicking the can down the road—pointing the finger at each other instead of coming together to find a solution for the flooding. Thursday's meeting marks the beginning of coming together.
The molded and mildewed flooring from Charles and Patricia Reed's home is in the back of a dumpster. A quick walkthrough of the house shows the damage.
"This is our bedroom. We've started picking stuff up off the floor and so forth," said Charles Reed.
Closet doors are in the living room. The panel from inside is now outside in the front yard. What's worse—the couple had just moved back in the home after fixing Hurricane Matthew's damage.
"We got the house where we wanted it and now we got to fix stuff all over again and that means we got to start back over," said Reed.
These two incidents are the only times the home has flooded in 29 years. The couple said an overgrown ditch in their backyard made the storm surge and rainwater overflow into their home. They said it hasn't been cleaned in all the time they've been here.
"We would like to know where our tax dollars are going. Are they going to Hilton Head? Bluffton? We're here in Beaufort. Do something for us for a change," said Patricia Reed.
Beaufort's mayor said a nearby retention pond, ditches, and drains in the neighborhood have all been neglected for years.
"This pond needs help, the ditches need help, we need some new partners," said Mayor Billy Keyserling.
Thursday, inside city hall, those partnerships were finally made. County, city and state leaders set up a task force to figure out ways to update the system.
"We're not going to solve them overnight. We're not going to be able to afford them all at once, but let's set up an incremental program with everybody coming to the plate, doing their part," said Keyserling.
The solution will likely be expensive and take a while to implement, but everyone is hopeful for progress.
"Hopefully, we come up with something that will be beneficial to this area," said Charles Reed. "We'll see. That's all we can hope for."
They can also hope those changes are made before the next storm comes our way. The Reeds do have flood insurance. They don't know if they'll keep getting insured though. The mayor does want people to realize that no solution will completely mitigate the flooding. He said this meeting is a big step in the right direction.