he Mat-Su Borough has allocated nearly $700,000 in state and federal emergency funding for flood recovery. Last week, the Borough Assembly voted unanimously to allocate the funds to pay the cost of emergency road repairs made during and immediately after the flood event.
Borough Emergency Manager Casey Cook says that this is the first in what will hopefully be a series of funding packages received from FEMA. He says that the Borough has applied for other emergency funds, as well as a FEMA flood mitigation program that would use federal dollars to make future floods less damaging to public infrastructure. While there is some funding coming in from FEMA, Cook says that an appeal is still ongoing for funds to repair the dike that runs from the Railroad Bridge to Main Street, as well as mitigation for the Yoder Road bridge.
According to Cook, FEMA representatives say that there was insufficient documentation to prove the dike had been adequately maintained when they visited in December. As a result, they ruled that it was impossible to determine if damage to the dike was a result of the flooding. Casey Cook says that the Borough has made sure that FEMA received all of the maintenance records for the dike. Cook also says that the assessment by FEMA staff suffered because they inspected the dike in the winter. As part of their appeal, the Borough has asked that FEMA return and evaluate the damage again when there is no snow cover.
The Borough is also appealing some of the cost estimates received from FEMA. He says that the assessments include prices that would be relevant in the Lower 48, but that simply don’t match with the realities of Alaska. Cook says he received confirmation on Friday that FEMA has received the Borough’s appeals, and is reviewing them. FEMA has ninety days to respond to the appeal, but Cook is unsure when the clock started on that deadline.