City seeks grant for damage

Wapakoneta city administrators recently started the process to receive state and federal funds in wake of the June 29 storm which caused millions in damage to the area.

Wapakoneta Safety-Service Director Bill Rains informed Wapakoneta City Council members Wednesday he attended meetings with local Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and members of FEMA where he initiated the paperwork to secure grant money for the city.

Rains said the city spent between $60,000 and $70,000 in clean-up in time and materials. Workers with the Public Works Department and the Wapakoneta Electric Department completed the majority of the work. Only four days — June 29 and 30 and July 1 and 2 — qualify.

“The city itself did not sustain a lot of damage,” Rains told the Wapakoneta Daily News after Wednesday’s council meeting. “We had some damage to the fire department roof and to the Engineering Department building and we lost five power poles. As far as physical damage, we did OK.

“We took a big hit because of the tremendous amount of debris we had to move in the 30 days following the event and that does not include all the help we received from residents hauling debris to the compost facility in pickup trucks, cars and trailers,” the safety-service director said. “Without their help, it would have taken more than 45 days.”

He said the city grinded an additional 1,500 cubic yards of yard waste and debris. He noted they typically spend $13,000 to operate the facility and they have spent $22,000 this summer, so they are seeking reimbursement on $9,000. The grant provides a reimbursement at a rate 75 percent for the work done at the composting facility.

Rains explained they also receive reimbursement for overtime hours to handle the emergency, but the safety-service director said while this covers the Electric Department he shifted tasks to be completed by the Public Works Department for debris collection.

“The grant only pays for overtime hours so we lost 30 days of what we normally do during the summer to handle this event,” Rains said. “We saw no sidewalk work done and only one curb installed because the truck was already contracted for to pour the concrete. We also had to maintain refuse and recycling pick-up so the crews were very busy.”

Auglaize County EMA Director Troy Anderson said he recorded 40 minor incidents, 80 affected incidents associated with the storm. On the government side, Anderson said the county met its threshold — which was $155,000 per capita for uninsured losses. The county’s figured totaled more than $350,000 per capita.

“We submitted a proposal with all the equipment, man hours, debris removal, the cost to mulch or chip up the debris and the public utilities for repairs,” Anderson told the newspaper in early August. “It’s still not 100 percent, it’s just preliminary. Right now they are going to Logan County to check — to my knowledge Mercer County did not have enough to meet its threshold.”

Auglaize County, along with St. Marys, Wapakoneta, New Bremen, Waynesfield, Duchouquet Township and Salem Township, are included in the government assistance report. Midwest Electric and DP&L also were included based upon utility damage.