Belmont County assesses $15.7M in damage from recent flooding

T-L Photos/GAGE VOTA Belmont County Emergency Management Agency Director Dave Ivan meets with the Belmont County Board of Commissioners to give an update on possible federal funding for recovery from recent flood damage.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Belmont County sustained nearly $16 million in damage from recent flooding, according to Emergency Management Agency Director Dave Ivan.

He met with the Belmont County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday morning to speak about the extent of damages caused by flooding earlier this month. Ivan said he recently sent out preliminary damage assessments to all of the townships and municipalities in Belmont County to help them evaluate harm to public infrastructure.

“I was somewhat shocked with the number that came in from the PDA,” Ivan said.

As of Wednesday, the amount of damage in all of the townships and municipalities in Belmont County is estimated at $15.7 million.

Before the Federal Emergency Management Agency is able to step in to help, there has to be over $21 million worth of damage statewide, according to Ivan. He noted that Monroe County is estimating about $13 million worth of damage.

As a result, Belmont and Monroe counties alone meet the statewide threshold to receive federal funding.

Due to the amount of damage assessed, the Ohio Emergency Management Agency has requested a preliminary damage assessment with FEMA, which will be occurring on May 1- 2. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency will be attending a meeting on those two days and will be in the field verifying the damage reported by local officials. Ivan believes that the field verification will make it a lot more likely that Belmont County will be able to receive funding from FEMA.

“Ohio EMA will request that the governor declare (a disaster) and then down the line the president to get a federal declaration so we can try and get reimbursed for some of this,” Ivan told commissioners regarding the steps that he would like to see be taken.

Ivan said that although the projected damage costs amount to an educated guess, officials now will have to go through and assess each damaged area and the projected costs of repair to verify what it will actually cost to do the projects.

“So basically in terms of just making sure we’re not telling a big fib,” Commissioner Jerry Echemann said while confirming that PDA stands for preliminary damage assessment and to make it easier for people in attendance to understand.

“Yes, because when you sit down with them you have to have all your documents, pictures and the whole nine yards,” Ivan responded. “And some of these they will actually go on site and take a look at them.”

Echemann then asked if the cost of overtime labor for the cleanup could be added to the $15.7 million.

“As long as it’s overtime, it has to be overtime as a result of this event,” Ivan replied.

Commissioner J.P. Dutton asked how the information about when or where a road slip or flood occurs is gathered.

“Through the emails he (Ivan) puts out to the townships and municipalities,” Pultney Township Trustee Frank Shaffer said.

Ivan added, “As soon as we start to get some reports, we send this out to everybody and see what they got.”

“We appreciate your experience,” Dutton said as he thanked Ivan. “You know the process forwards and backwards, and that helps a lot for new trustees or new mayors where this could be their first time going through an incident like this. I think that’s where EMA can really help them through that process.”

“Our villages and townships without this program do not have the money to fix these problems,” Shaffer added.


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