flood 1 (copy)

Chautauqua Park was underwater after the Big Blue River flooded in March

Gage County officials are working with FEMA to receive assistance in recovery efforts following last month’s flood.

The Board of Supervisors discussed the process during its regular meeting on Wednesday.

Board member Terry Jurgens said a meeting was held with township officials last week to ensure they know how to submit requests for the funds.

“The townships had a meeting with (highway superintendent Galen Engel) and the FEMA people here as far as what they need to account for, look at, turn in and things like that,” Jurgens said. “They all know what’s required of them. Roads are still not in good shape out there, but we’re working whenever we can between rains to get things shaped up.”

Gage County Emergency Management Director Lisa Wiegand previous told the board that the threshold to be considered for FEMA funding is $84,335.

Based on preliminary damage assessments, Gage County sustained $457,000 in damage while the city of Beatrice sustained $200,000 in damage for a total of $767,000.

The figures were based on several factors including damage to roads directly caused by flooding as well as overtime cost to law enforcement and other workers who put in extra hours following the flood.

Board chairman Erich Tiemann said Wiegand was setting up meetings where township officials could come to the courthouse and receive assistance with submitting the necessary forms to receive federal funds.

Additionally, Tiemann said the Holmesville blacktop road may receive repair funds due to the added traffic flow on the road when others were flooded.

“They said if we can show before and afters or push some information along to them, they thought that was a very good case for additional wear and tear because that road does not have a base like a highway,” Tiemann said. “It’s not made for that kind of traffic count.”

Tiemann said that all bridges and culverts that flood were inspected. Eight structures were determined to have damage, and four should qualify for federal funds.

“Galen went around with FEMA and looked at those,” Tiemann said. “Out of those eight, four were approved for reconstruction through this emergency. Four of them weren’t. Galen is trying to get these structures that have damage pushed through with these emergency dollars.”

Statewide, damage estimates are nearly $1.3 billion and include $439 million in infrastructure damage, $400 million in crop land damage and $440 million in animal loss.

About 2,000 miles of state roads -- roughly 20 percent of the entire state road system -- were been closed at one point or another.

The flooding started after a blizzard hit western Nebraska and brought heavy rain to eastern Nebraska. The storm caused record levels of flooding across Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota.

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