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Flood Damage Costs May Be Enough For Federal Aid

Bill Rinehart
The Ohio River crested at 60.5 feet on February 25, covering parts of Mehring Way.

Hamilton County may have enough flood damage to qualify for federal and state disaster aid. Emergency Management Director Nick Crossley says one building was destroyed, 59 had major damage, and more than 350 had minor damage.

"These are the numbers we use when going to the state. These will be impacted by people who had insurance, or if MSD (Metropolitan Sewer District) was found to be responsible. So those numbers may go down as far as what counts toward if we get any kind of individual assistance," Crossley says.

He says those are preliminary numbers that were reported last week.

Crossley says Hamilton County recorded $5.6 million of uninsured damage to public infrastructure. The reports come from seven communities: Cincinnati, Colerain Township, Miami Township, Sharonville, Cleves, Reading, and Indian Hill. Four county departments—Parks, engineer, the Banks, and MSD—are also included.

There has to be at least $3.2 million in Hamilton County losses to qualify for federal aid. In order for the state to request a presidential disaster declaration, there has to be nearly $17 million among all affected counties.

Credit Bill Rinehart / WVXU
When Hamilton County commissioners declared a state of emergency, floodwaters were receding but still left Mehring Way and the East Garage covered with water and debris.

Local emergency management officials will meet with federal and state representatives Tuesday. Crossley is expected to update county commissioners at their regularly scheduled Wednesday meeting.

Hamilton County commissioners declared a state of emergency February 26, and the following week waived building permit fees for flood-related repair work. Monday morning, commissioners waived competitive bidding requirements on county property repairs.

"This will allow for a much quicker manner in which we can move forward with repair work," says Board President Todd Portune. The measure passed unanimously.

Meanwhile, officials in Clermont County say more than 350 structures were affected by the recent flooding, with most in New Richmond.  The Building Inspection Department declared one building destroyed because of the high water. Another 13 had major damage.  Damage from the flooding is estimated at more than $770,000.

Meanwhile, officials say 46 structures were damaged by a tornado that hit parts of Clermont County on February 24.  The dollar loss for that is about $75,000.