The Ottumwa Courier

May 21, 2013

County to learn about disaster declarations

By MARK NEWMAN
Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — The county is a step closer to finding out if they'll be getting money from the federal government.

"FEMA was here last week, doing a damage assessment," said Wapello County Engineer Brian Moore during a meeting of the Wapello County Board of Supervisors Tuesday. "We should know in a couple of weeks here whether we will get a presidential declaration."

Those disaster declarations are key to receiving federal assistance after an emergency, like the mid-April storm that added nearly 5 inches of rain to the county in a very short time. The storm damaged county property, including several roads.

The worst damage by far, said Moore, is on 90th Street, a segment of which was so damaged, the road is now impassible. It could cost $750,000 to repair. However, the three-step process for federal assistance has already begun. The county declared itself a disaster area, the state agreed and soon, Moore hopes, the U.S. president will put the third and final signature on the paperwork.

With FEMA then paying 75 percent and the state kicking in another 10 percent, that would mean 90th Street projects would start with $595,000 already paid.

Another bridge doesn't qualify for FEMA assistance, but the county will still get some funding to put in the new structure.

"This is the bridge at 100th Street," Moore told supervisors. "This is the standard agreement with the DOT that pays 80 percent."

Moore said over the years, the 100th Street Bridge has deteriorated, so it needs to be replaced. With its cost of $350,000, the bridge would cost the county $70,000.

In other business, Supervisor Steve Siegel asked that a computer-related expense listed on the agenda be delayed while he studied the subject further. He also mentioned that things may change since the county plans to hire an IT specialist. He asked to wait until the next meeting before taking a vote.

Officials also changed the time for one future board of supervisors meeting. They will meet at 2 p.m. June 17.

To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark.