DAKOTA CITY -- The Dakota County Board of Commissioners on Monday passed a measure that could result in borrowing up to $1.5 million to pay for county roads and bridges damaged in March flooding.
The commissioners in a meeting approved a resolution that would allow them to borrow up to $1.5 million for infrastructure repairs, although they may not spend that much in the months ahead. County Clerk Joan Spencer explained that governmental entities have up to 60 days after an emergency declaration to set certain details on possible repairs, in order to receive federal funding.
Spencer added the county doesn't have a sufficient cash flow to pay for the repairs now without the borrowing. The commissioners said they understand the county will have to fund the repairs now, then wait for reimbursement funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"If we have a solid estimate, we can begin on the work," Commissioner Janet Gill said.
County Highway Superintendent Fred Kellogg gave the $1.5 million estimate for county repairs on bridges and roads. That total was the same as the $1.5 million cost estimate for roads in Woodbury County, which is just across the Missouri River in Iowa.
The Siouxland flooding event began on March 13, as rain and snowmelt caused rivers and other waterways to overflow. According to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, 81 counties and five tribal areas have had emergency declarations.
Kellogg said five Dakota County bridges were impacted by the flooding, and one is still closed just north of Emerson. Numerous roads were impacted, and four sections are still closed.
Two of the most substantially damaged road sections are along 260th Street near Emerson and K Avenue north of Nebraska Highway 35 and east of Hubbard.
Kellogg said continuing, spotty rains have hampered repairs.
"That's why there are still roads closed. Two days of dry weather aren't enough," he said.
Kellogg said county residents are generally antsy to get repairs now, but understand officials are working as fast as possible.
"Most of the calls we get, they just want to know our scheduling," he said. "I would be very happy to get done by the end of the year."