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July flood damage not bad enough for federal aid

Posted at 6:35 PM, Oct 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-05 20:58:20-04

EL PASO COUNTY -It was bad but not bad enough. The late July downpour that drenched hillside communities in the Pikes Peak region damaged local roads and bridges. But the damage wasn’t enough for El Paso County to qualify for federal disaster assistance.

In Green Mountain Falls one of the most visible examples is the crossing over Catamount Creek on Maple Street. There are cracks in the cynderblock on the eastern face of the culvert and a large gap along the road surface.

“We’re looking at about $200,000 in total damages on five priority projects,” explained interim Town Manager Jason Wells. “That represents approximately one third of the town of Green Mountain Falls operating budget.”

Federal and County inspectors tallied up all the damage. Even when the two sinkholes on Old Pueblo Road in Hanover and on Manitou Avenue near Soda Springs Park were included in the Countywide damage estimate, it still amounted to less than the $2.3 million threshold required for FEMA to issue a disaster declaration.

“We coordinated with a number of other municipalities throughout 9 counties to submit to FEMA for a potential federal declaration,” Wells said. “All together though, the damages incurred throughout those 9 counties did not reach the necessary threshold.”

He explained that town leaders are exploring other emergency funds from either the state or federal government. It’s too late to put a tax question on the ballot to try and raise the money locally.

“You can’t just snap your fingers and enact a temporary tax increase to respond to these things,” Wells said. “So, we’re really depending on outside assistance one way or another.”

In the meantime, he’s asking volunteers to join their Creek Week clean up of Catamount Creek on Saturday, October 20th. There is still a lot of debris near the water way. Removing it will lower the risk of clogging drainage channels and causing future flooding.