Borough faces over $1 million in storm repair

Posted: Monday, May 05, 2003

Repairing damage left by the heavy flooding in October and November of last year will cost the Kenai Peninsula Borough roughly $1.1 million, while a March windstorm is expected to add an additional $43,000 to repair costs, according to borough Finance Director Jeff Sinz.

In a memo to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, Sinz said the borough Roads Department already has spent much of its fiscal year 2003 operating budget on road and bridge repairs.

On Tuesday, the assembly is expected to pass a resolution formalizing its authority to apply for disaster assistance from the Alaska Department of Military and Veter-ans Affairs' Division of Emergency Services.

The division already has obligated some $492,000 for 17 borough projects. Those dollars would be released to the borough upon approval of the resolution, Sinz said.

The balance of the repair costs would be reimbursed as projects are completed, he said.

Assembly President Pete Sprague said Wednesday he anticipates passage of the resolution.

"I certainly hope we get compensated for everything we have had to expend," he said. "The flooding was obviously very substantial."

He added that it was the first time he'd seen damage numbers attached to the March windstorm.

Extremely heavy rains and unseasonably warm temperatures last fall led to what weather officials said were 100-year flooding events. Rivers and streams from the Kenai to the Anchor River exploded over their banks, ripping new channels, taking out bridges and roadways and cutting traffic flow between the central and lower peninsula for days at a time.

In March, hurricane-force gusts ripped across Southcentral Alaska, downing trees, tearing off roofs, cutting electrical power and causing other assorted damage, including wind-whipped wildfires.

Both events resulted in declarations of disaster from President George W. Bush and the promise of federal assistance.

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