Storm damage to city property totals $764,000

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Preliminary estimates show it will cost Cape Girardeau about $764,000 to repair the damage to public property caused by the record-setting rain and flooding March 18 and 19, city public works director Tim Gramling said Tuesday.

Gramling, along with other city representatives and officials from Cape Girardeau County and the Cape Special Road District, met at the Osage Community Centre with three representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a "kickoff" meeting to discuss storm damage. If all the costs are approved, the city can expect federal help to pay 75 percent of the bills, with the state of Missouri picking up an additional 10 percent.

The estimates include the costs of fighting the floods during the height of the storm and repairing the subsequent damage. The biggest bills will be $158,293 for repairs to 16 storm-water detention basins around the city, $100,000 to permanently repair erosion damage on Cape La Croix Creek near Mount Auburn Road and $100,000 for bank stabilization on Sloan Creek at Main Street and Big Bend Boulevard.

The estimate is almost double the $400,000 in costs the city is reporting to FEMA for the February ice storm that knocked out power to many across the region, Gramling said.

For Cape Girardeau County, the costs are expected to be about $205,000, mainly for repairing dozens of locations on county roads where gravel was washed away and must be replaced, said Scott Bechtold, county highway administrator.

The Cape Special Road District is seeking help to cover $30,000 in costs.

The meeting is the first step in determining whether the costs estimated by local government agencies are accurate, said FEMA representatives Gary Miller and Lendale Mayhew. They were joined by Jim Boyer, a FEMA insurance representative who reminded the officials that once property is repaired, it must be insured against future flood damage if possible.

With the lists in hand, FEMA inspectors will visit sites needing permanent repairs and double-check local figures before agreeing to help, Mayhew said. Work that has already been completed, such as debris removal, or the costs of emergency measures during the storm, will be reimbursed based on the actual costs incurred, he said.

A similar meeting is scheduled for today in Allenville for officials of smaller communities in southern Cape Girardeau County.

rkeller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126

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