Even as protestors were picketing outside city hall Wednesday morning regarding the lack of information they have received since last month’s flash flood washed through neighborhoods in Hannibal, City Manager Jeff LaGarce was detailing an upcoming public meeting that is intended to answer many flood-related questions.
The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 24, in the Marion County Courthouse, 906 Broadway, in Hannibal.
Representatives of the state emergency management agency (SEMA) will be in attendance, according to LaGarce. Personnel from the federal emergency management agency (FEMA) have also been invited to the meeting.
“There’s a lot of confusion and a lot of questions regarding where we go from here,” said LaGarce. “At this meeting we’ll bring SEMA and the public together.”
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama granted Gov. Jay Nixon’s request for a major disaster declaration in 29 counties across Missouri hit by flooding, severe storms and excessive rain during June and July. That group includes Lewis County.
Marion, Monroe, Pike, Ralls and Shelby counties are among a group of nine other counties in which storm damage also occurred. Since Nixon’s July 27 disaster declaration request, joint damage assessments have been completed by SEMA and FEMA. According to a media release issued by the governor’s office, Nixon intends to request that the president’s major disaster declaration be expanded to include those counties as well.
Under the president’s declaration, the federal government will reimburse local governments for 75 percent of their emergency response and eligible recovery activities associated with the damaging weather beginning June 12.
Rather than public assistance, LaGarce would prefer seeing help go to residents whose homes were flooded.
“Our loses are negligible in comparison to the losses experienced in the private sector,” he said, estimating the city’s flash flood-related expenses at between $30,000 and $40,000. “My hope is that an individual assistance type declaration will be made to help where the greatest impact was seen.”
According to LaGarce, State Rep. Rachel Bringer, D-Palmyra, will be asking SEMA to make an appeal to have the declaration modified to include individual assistance.