By Bud Gillett

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – City Manager Mary Suhm briefed the council Wednesday on a proposed 2012 bond program using a plea for flood control in the East Dallas area.

Flooding is a problem many of those residents remember vividly.

“I remember wading through very dirty sewer water to rescue one of the doctors’ cars,” says Cathy Headley, who watched a March 2006 flood cripple the area around Baylor Hospital.

“It was raining so hard you couldn’t see; the next thing I know I looked out and the street was filled with water. Cars were floating,” she said.

Suhm offered councilmembers an expensive flood control plan that would protect a large part of East Dallas with a series of tunnels and holding areas that ultimately drain into the Trinity River.

The price tag comes to just more than $300 million if done all at once, but up to $70 million more if broken up into separate stages and spread out over the years.

Money left over from an earlier bond program could also be applied to the new project.

Improving flood drainage for that area is one of the items the council is taking up as it decides whether to offer a bond package to voters this November.

Suhm also gave members their first look at the 2012 proposal to issue new bonds in the half-billion dollar range, earmarked for flood control; new streets; and projects to stimulate economic development.

“Here’s how much we think we’ve got capacity for now,” she said, “and here’s three things we think you really need to focus on.”

Councilwoman Angela Hunt, whose district is in East Dallas, complimented Suhm and her staff.

“I think this is on the right track in looking at the very basics and in looking at a way that we keep our debt level at a point that we can pay for it within our current tax,” she said.

But resistance is already emerging.

Councilwoman Carolyn Davis said she couldn’t support them unless there were more programs for the southern sector.

Councilman Dwaine Caraway wants bonds for any projects that might benefit his area, District 4, to be among the first sold.

“This time around we would like to be part of the first sale of the bonds,” he said.

Councilmembers and the public will have several more opportunities to discuss a bonds program. Voters would be asked to approve any plans during this November’s election.