How much difference do disaster declarations make for local taxpayers? And what kinds of strings come attached to state and federal disaster dollars?
Big ones, in part because disaster funding doesn’t cover permanent repairs.
“That hole in the ground on Glenwood Road, we need to bypass around that road as quickly as possible,” Idaho County disaster management coordinator Jerry Zumalt told the county commissioners Tuesday, April 23.
Zumalt’s early estimate has the costs at $300,000 -- $200,000 to put a bypass in and $100,000 to take it out. Commission chairman Skip Brandt balked at the idea so much should be spent to remove it after such an expense taken to build it.
“Why do we have to talk about taking it out?” Brandt asked Zumalt.
“It’s got to come out once permanent repairs are made on Glenwood Road,” Zumalt said. “If you turn to the left upstream about a hundred yards, there’s a grade across Adams Creek and that culvert can be put in there temporarily. Then bring the traffic back around.”
“It’s essentially the old route,” Brandt said. “Why wouldn’t we just leave it?”
“We can’t under the permitting process,” Zumalt said. “That’s a 50/50 cost-share if it’s approved.”
The implication being, the cost to Idaho County taxpayers would be $200,000 to build the bypass on their own, but building and removing it with state help would cost local taxpayers $150,000.
Under a presidential disaster declaration, federal taxpayers would lift the bulk of the burden – $225,000. The state would cover $45,000 and the county road and bridge budget would cover $30,000.
Zumalt also reported sliding on Adams Grade and Big Cedar roads.
“Our geoprofessional engineers went up and looked at the sliding on Big Cedar that’s part of that [previously contracted] rebuild,” Zumalt said. “They put those inclinometers in the ground. Well, it sheared them off about 24 feet down. … And then about half-a-mile on beyond there, we have a new slide and centerline fracture right down the road.”
“On Big Cedar?” Brandt clarified.
Information Zumalt provided the Free Press last week listed two Big Cedar Road sites among 24 sites potentially eligible for cost-sharing under the state disaster declaration.
Temporary repairs just within the county road and bridge department jurisdiction – not including damage to local highway districts roads – has so far been tallied to exceed $4.4 million.
Disaster declaration funding is not available for federal aid routes, for which other federal funding is available. The county has so far estimated $2.77 million to address problems on federal aid routes, and $1.67 million that could be eligible for cost-sharing should a federal disaster be declared.
Damage at a site located up Thorn Springs Road from Old State Highway 7 has been estimated at more than $510,000, and damage at one of the two Big Cedar sites has been estimated at more than $398,000.
Two Lukes Gulch Road sites have been estimated at about $326,000 and two Cottonwood Creek Road sites have been estimated at about $327,000. A separate estimate calls for almost $84,000 for Three Mile Creek Bridge, located on Lukes Gulch Road a couple miles south of Stites.
Damage estimates along the federal aid routes include five sites on Clear Creek Road totaling about $803,000, a Carrot Ridge Road site is estimated at $404,000, and five separate locations on Glenwood Road – including the massive culvert repair – weigh in at $1.56 million.
As of Wednesday evening, the county was still pursuing estimates for damaged guard rails along the Big Salmon Road east of Riggins and unknown damage to Sally Ann Creek Road west of Clearwater.