Corps of Engineers denies Mississippi County's damage claim

Sunday, July 29, 2012

CHARLESTON, Mo. -- Mississippi County will not receive money from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for damage caused by the activation of the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway in May 2011.

County Clerk Junior DeLay presented a letter from the corps' Tort Claims Division dated July 17 to county commissioners during their regular weekly meeting Thursday.

Lt. Col. David O. Anglin, acting chief for the division, said in the letter that it "constitutes the final administrative action" on the county's $75 million claim for flood damage to county public property "resulting from the alleged negligence of U.S. Corps of Engineers personnel by activating the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway on May 2, 2011, after record flooding occurred in the lower Mississippi River Valley."

Anglin also said if the county does not file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court within six months of the letter's mailing, it won't be able to after that point. "I am not implying that any such suit, if filed, would be successful," he said.

In short: "The Mississippi County, Missouri claim is denied," according to Anglin.

Commissioners said they aren't surprised by the decision but are now hoping it doesn't have any bearing on the county's claim for damage done to county roads by trucks hauling sand and other materials for the levee's restoration.

Presiding Commissioner Carlin Bennett said that county officials were initially told by corps representatives that damage to county roads would be covered by the corps' Real Estate Division.

"Fourteen months after the fact they come and tell us, 'You need to file a claim,'" Bennett said. "We will still follow up on road damage."

"We were told that we would be compensated," Commissioner Robert Jackson agreed.

While concerns about who will ultimately pay for county roads damaged by construction truck traffic remain, county officials are pleased by the corps' recent announcement that the levee will be restored to its original height of 62.5 feet by the end of the year.

"We're glad that it's been officially authorized and approved," Bennett said. "Moreover, that it's going to be done in this season. Folk here have been through two growing seasons without it there and are really happy they won't have to go through a third growing season without it there."

Pertinent address:

Charleston, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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