Johnson County looks to feds for storm repair funding

Posted at 12:25 PM, Aug 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-10 18:33:10-04

Following a pair of damaging storms in July, several cities in Johnson County are still picking up the pieces. 

Two weeks ago heavy rains and raging flood waters wreaked havoc on Johnson County. Now they're crunching the numbers to seek federal assistance. 

"The events were well predicted, but the magnitude of those events exceeded a lot of people’s expectations," said Trenton Pittman, with Johnson County Emergency Management & Communications. 

Damage was so extensive that Johnson County declared a local disaster, something that hasn’t been done in years.  

"The last time that we had a FEMA declared disaster was in 2002 for the ice storms," said Pittman. 

Before the ice storms in 2002, it was flooding in 1998.

"The flooding in 1998 that occurred during the Chiefs game, people remember that one. These two events were very significant events, but they didn't really catch a lot of people’s eye before the event actually occurred," said Pittman. 

Now, it’s the dollar sign that’s shocking.

"Cost wise, this is probably the highest eligible expense we've seen in at least 5 to 10 years," said Pittman. 

In order to get reimbursed, the county must meet FEMA guidelines, which means the total cost of damages must reach $1.9 million. The county believes they are well on their way to meeting that amount.

"Right now, we have a little bit over $1 million of eligible expenses that have been reported to us, and we're still missing data from a number of large jurisdictions that suffered extensive losses," said Pittman. 

However, if the county falls short and is unable to receive funding from FEMA, it will be up to the cities to budget. 

"If we don't reach that certain threshold, the various jurisdictions that incurred those expenses will be forced to swallow it," said Pittman. 

Pittman said Overland Park and Leawood sustained the most damage from the two rounds of storms. By next week the county hopes to have estimates from all affected cities turned in.

Following a disaster, the county has 30 days to request funding from FEMA. Currently, Johnson County is halfway there, with a deadline of August 24.