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County commits to road repairs dating back to last year; still chasing fed funds

Ft. Misery, Cottonwood Creek bids awarded

Spring 2017 washout damage on Cedar Creek Road.

Spring 2017 washout damage on Cedar Creek Road.

— Two more major road repair projects out of those that date back to Spring 2017 went to bid earlier this month, with work at Ft. Misery won by Cook & Sons and work at Cottonwood Creek won by Crea Construction during the Idaho County Commission’s March 13 meeting.

Both projects are eligible for FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) funding but the feds had not yet obligated the money for these projects, Idaho County disaster management manager Jerry Zumalt told the Free Press last week.

“We’re moving forward regardless,” he said after the bid openings were advertised, because, “otherwise contractors will be booked.”

Work has been completed on two other projects – the repairs at Maxwell Lane and Cedar Creek Road – both of which are also eligible for FEMA funding.

Including the Cottonwood Creek and Ft. Misery projects, the county was still pursuing FEMA funding for seven projects last week, and five of those may be eligible for state emergency road funds. The county is pursuing state funding for several others.

The winning bid amount for the Cottonwood Creek road work was a bit less than $32,000, and the winning bid amount for the Ft. Misery road work was less than $28,000.

But prior to the March 20 county commission meeting, FEMA had not confirmed the funding would come through.

“Jerry has worked so hard on this FEMA stuff,” county road supervisor Gene Meinen told the board during a report on road department spending March 20, “and he’s asked me to keep my mouth shut. But FEMA has dropped the ball on this whole thing. … He couldn’t do any more than what he’s done to try and get this off the ground, but I’m to the point of asking the board to go to the congressional people. It’s 18 months since the date of event, and 12 months into it without a commitment from them yet. … They need to recognize they’re leaving us hanging.”

Zumalt differed from Meinen during the meeting; Zumalt told the commission the FEMA officials he’s working with have been helpful – at least verbally – and said “I want to stay in the game … and we will get there.”

Later Tuesday, March 20, Zumalt told the Free Press the county had just received “obligation” letters through the Idaho Office of Emergency Management. The letters spell out grant funding for the Ft. Misery Road project and a Cove Road project, with the Cove Road plan still under engineering design, after which a contract will be written and put out to bid.

“The obligated funds are theoretically cost-shared 75 percent by FEMA, 15 percent by the State of Idaho and 10 percent by Idaho County for each of the repair sites,” Zumalt explained.


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