Feds putting up roadblocks in giving up road fix funding

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Hancock city manager Glenn Anderson (right) discusses updates FEMA funding at a recent City Council meeting. The documentation process, he said, continues to go back and forth.

HANCOCK — Street damage and repairs dating back to the June 17 flooding have been the ongoing topic of discussion among the City Council, the Downtown Development Authority, and the Planning Commission since the flooding occurred.

“Projects on the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) project list continue to be fluid and in motion and continue to ebb and flow from the standpoint of documentation,” city manager Glenn Anderson reported recently to the City Council.”

Cost estimates continue to be updated on projects, while some are being removed, and others are waiting for additional documentation, Anderson said. The weather has also been a factor throughout the summer and fall, and additionally, the turbidity of Portage Lake has made it impossible to examine outflow pipes and their debris fields from the materials carried into the storm drains by the flooding.

Anderson said officials are waiting for the lake to freeze so photograph teams can take pictures of the debris fields through the ice and siltation around the pipes.

There are also questions if the city’s insurance will cover flood damage. Anderson said he has received emails from the insurance company telling him it is not covered, while FEMA is requesting more documentation.

“So, this is was the latest update on our Nov. 15 meeting, of course we do phone conferences every week on Thursdays,” said Anderson.

“Once our local FEMA staff does sign off on projects, the list will be sent to the FEMA office in West Virginia for further review and questions.”

It is a fairly long process, said Anderson. But the city can appeal any project FEMA denies.

“There is an appeal process available to the city, at least to make our arguments,” Anderson said.

In the meantime, Montezuma Street is scheduled for repair this month, Mayor John Haeussler said, which will open it again for traffic by the end of January 2019, but it will not be paved until early next summer.