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Northeast Missouri officials hope for disaster declaration

The costs of dealing with flooding are adding up in northeast Missouri  and with other areas in the state getting emergency funds from the federal government, officials are starting to wonder if they’ll be able to get assistance as well.

Before federal funds can get to the region, an emergency declaration needs to be made. It’s something emergency management officials and state representatives say they are pushing for.

“The hidden costs would be overtime to raise the levee, spent 3 or 4 days doing that with our personnel, there was the materials associated with raising that levee,” said Hannibal Board of Public Works Engineer Mathew Munzlinger.

He said they’re still calculating how much fighting the flood will cost them, and the same goes for the rest of the city, costs Munzlinger said will impact their bottom line without assistance.

“That would just come out of our normal operating budget, we absorb the overtime hours, we absorb any materials,” said Munzlinger.

Emergency Management of Marion County Director John Hark said getting an emergency declaration is about more than fighting the flooding in Hannibal

“We have it in Clarksville, Louisiana, Ralls county, Marion county, Lewis county, Clark county– there’s a lot of people spending a lot of money fighting the flood and it’s not everyday money,” said Hark.

Hark said the region faces obstacles on the state-level for getting an emergency declaration, for example, profit lost from un-useable farm land can’t be attributed to the total damages. He said with the cost still going up, it’s important to put to forward for consideration to the federal government.

“We still have to tear all this down and take it all down, put it away, it costs as much to take it all down as it does it put it all up,” said Hark.

For Munzlinger, he said help from the government means they keep their personal emergency funds for a future rainy day.

“If we get assistance from the federal government they would be fully funded or close to it at that point so if something does happen later this year we’d be able to address it,” said Munzlinger.

State representative Louis Riggs said he has put in the request for a declaration of emergency to the governor two weeks ago, but it can take time to get it approved.

Just four days ago, President Trump declared a major disaster for 13 Missouri counties damaged by March flooding. Governor Mike Parson requested the declaration in April.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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