County officials note $1 million in related storm damage

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Since the Aug. 10 derecho storm that hit Anamosa and the southern half of Jones County, storm-related news has taken center stage over COVID-19 at the board of supervisors meeting.

     Emergency Management Coordinator Brenda Leonard updated the board on the latest from the storm locally.

     Leonard mentioned that with only two weather stations in Jones County, more would be preferred.

     “There might be a grant we could get,” she indicated.

     Weather stations require either solar power or electricity to operate.

     “They require care and maintenance,” added Leonard.

     As of Tuesday morning, Aug. 18, 2 percent of Jones County was still without power, or 213 connections/customers.

     “A lot of the electricity was ripped with the sides of houses,” explained Leonard.

     Leonard said that Iowa did get approved for the Presidential Disaster Declaration. That applies to 16 counties. Close to $4 billion was approved.

     Jones County is reporting $750,000 in damages to public infrastructure, not including private property. Leonard said damage to utility poles owned by Maquoketa Valley Electric Cooperative would bring the county over $1 million.

     County Auditor Janine Sulzner shared with the board that the Broadway Place Annex was without power from Monday afternoon when the storm hit through late Thursday.

     “The employees did what they could,” she said as far as working.

     County Engineer Derek Snead updated the board on damage to roads and road signs throughout the county, following the storm. The process of clearing roadways and removing debris has been turned into a road maintenance project, Snead said. This allows Secondary Roads to track time, materials, labor, etc. for FEMA reimbursement.

     “We had 200 to 300 different sites with debris in the right of way,” Snead said, noting an early cost estimate of $35,000 to $40,000.

     He explained to the board that past FEMA practices based the reimbursement on how fast debris could be removed from the right way.

     “The first 30 to 90 days, timing will be key,” he said.

     Secondary Roads, though, is still working to locate all of the signs that were either damaged or blown down in the storm.

     “We started erecting stop signs on our paved routes first,” said Snead.

     The good news is that Secondary Roads digitized all of its sign inventory and locations, which makes it easy for replacement and maintenance in an event like this.

     “We had 1,500 to 2,000 signs damaged,” he said. “We estimate that a majority of the signs are reusable as far as the sign face goes. Most signs are readable.”

     The estimated sign damage costs are around $190,000. With debris removal and sign damage, Snead said Secondary is seeing a total of around $550,000.

     “That’s just for this particular storm event,” he said.


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