Custer County Holds Emergency Meeting Concerning Repairs From Flooding

CUSTER COUNTY—While the weather looks more promising for the foreseeable future, there are still issues throughout Custer County that need to be addressed on the worst flood that has ever been seen by any living resident.

On Friday morning, the Custer County Board of Supervisors held an emergency meeting to “discuss prioritize and approve expenditures related to the recent flooding and related storm events.” While  no funds were approved in the morning, the meeting centered around giving information to township leaders in the county on the procedure going forward to be able to receive funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

Highway Superintendent Chris Jacobsen and Custer County Emergency Manager Mark Rempe told the leaders of the communities in Custer County, that to be able to receive funds for the damage caused, they need to document all work that is completed. Both Rempe and Jacobsen stressed heavily on documenting all work with pictures and other documents. While FEMA and NEMA could help the townships and county with the cost it would be more of a reimbursement process which is why it is stress heavily to document all work being done to fix the damages from the flooding.

“Our guys know that they are to be taking photographs of everything they are doing,” said Jacobsen.

Many of the questions centered on where to get materials and how to be able to pay for the materials and work if budgets were not prepared for this amount of damage. Jacobsen told those in attendance that materials would have to be pulled from anywhere possible and that finding material, such as gravel, may have to be brought in from Ord, Lexington, or from further away.

A member of the public did ask what townships were to do if their damages exceeded the amount of money set aside. The answer was not clear, but Jacobsen said that prioritizing each job was going to have to be done.

Jacobsen said, “If we have places were we have high needs and people are having a problem getting to their operations we obviously have to prioritize them first. If someone has to go five miles around and it used to take them a half a mile you’re just going to have to suffer that.”

In most situations, the county and townships must ask for bids to work on a project, however in emergency situations such as this one, bids can be waived to allow action to immediately be taken according to a state statute. The Custer County Board of Supervisors enacted that statute Friday afternoon allowing for immediate action to be taken on county controlled roads and bridges.