OSAGE, IA – It’s a story we’ve been covering for over a week now. Devastating floods damaged many roads, bridges and farm land in much of our area just a week ago.
While crews have been working constantly to clean and fix things up, in Mitchell County, leaders are getting a feel for what this damage is going to cost. Now, county leaders are trying to get federal assistance.
“We’re working every day, right now we’re doing a lot with our gravel road washouts and we’ve gotten some of these bridges that were washed out back up and running. But some of these larger structures are going to take some time yet so I’m looking at a couple weeks at least.”
Mitchell County Engineer, Richard Brumn shared this update at a county board of supervisors meeting Tuesday morning.
The flood damage to Mitchell County has been devastating and possibly even more of a blow is the estimated cost of dealing with it.
“We roughly estimated $1.1 million in damages throughout the county,” adds Brumn.
This figure is just a rough estimate, they’re still waiting on more accurate assessments on some locations but the figure is still startling to many especially since county officials are unsure if they will get any relief from the federal government.
“If FEMA doesn’t help… that’ll be difficult, it will be difficult to come up with it if it ends up being $1.1 million,” says Brumn.
Brumn tells KIMT News 3 that that amount of money totals about 25% of the entire county’s budget for an entire year, and if they don’t receive help from FEMA; the county is responsible.
“That is an expense that is extremely, I would say stressful on our county supervisors to think about how they are going to get that money out of that budget,” says Josh Byrnes.
State representative Byrnes says they have the option to borrow money to pay for infrastructure projects, and while he personally doesn’t like that route, it might be the only option.
He says that can partially be blamed on the legislature for being resistant to paying for infrastructure improvements in the state.
“If we did a better job of being proactive on our infrastructure we wouldn’t have such an extreme amount of devastation when things like this happen,” explains Byrnes.
Mitchell county engineer also added that more counties were involved in the disaster declaration to FEMA, they might be more willing to aid in relief. But as for if that relief will come, it’s going to be a waiting game.
Meanwhile, Governor Terry Branstad issued a disaster proclamation for 13 Iowa counties today, including Butler, Floyd, and Write. Mitchell county was not included.