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Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014

Few seek federal aid from flooding

Wednesday, June 5, 2002

BENTON - Recent flooding was again the central topic for Scott County commissioners during Tuesday's meeting.

Joe Burton, administrator for Scott County E-911 services, offered "a quick update on what's going on."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency still hasn't provided an answer on whether the county will receive assistance for public facilities damaged by the flooding, according to Burton.

Individuals in the county who have suffered damage due to the flooding, however, need to show up at the center and complete applications for assistance.

About 28 or 29 have contacted FEMA so far, but most of those were phoned in via FEMA's 1-800 number, Burton said. "That's just the first step - they still have got to show up at the center and apply."

Unless people start showing up in significant numbers, Burton predicted this would be the last week FEMA officials would be at the E-911 center in Morley accepting federal assistance applications.

Burton also discussed National Flood Insurance Agency rules which state structures with over 50 percent damage will be obligated to meet flood plain standards even if not within the flood plain in order for reconstruction at the site to be permitted.

Burton said he is aware of two structures falling under this category - a trailer that was nearly covered with water off Highway 308 right by the river in Scott City and another home whose owners are opting for a Small Business Administration buyout program which also will not allow rebuilding at the location.

Also appearing before commissioners Tuesday was Darrell Hay who owns a home on Highway HH.

Hay asked commissioner to initiate an application for a federal buyout of flooded homes in Scott County. Officials believe a federal buyout would only include homes that had water in them, and not those just surrounded by water.

"The problems we have with St. John's Ditch are not going to be solved in the short term," said Hay.

Hay said he hasn't even completed repairs to his home using the $30,000 in flood insurance money he received for the last flood. "I haven't even lived in my houses since the first of December," Hay said.

The flooding now appears to be "a recurring problem," according to Hay, and a buyout appears to be the common-sense answer. "I'm throwing my money out the window," Hay said. "I don't want to go through this again next year."

Commissioner Jamie Burger said he believes a federal buyout will also require a petition from affected residents.

Burton and Burger discussed how lots vacated due to a federal buyout would have to be maintained by the county and could not include any permanent structures.

In other Scott County commission news:

* After several months of handling the majority of Scott County prisoners, Mississippi County is reserving its available space for federal Immigration and Naturalization prisoners. "They're not housing any of our prisoners now," said Burger.

INS pays Mississippi County twice as much per prisoner as Scott County did, according to officials.

Martin Priggel, presiding commissioner, said the INS prisoners were also described as being much easier to deal with than county prisoners.

Burger said as of May 17, construction of the new Scott County jail was delayed by 66 days of inclement weather since the project was started Aug. 6.