The Atchison County Commission met Thursday, April 18. Present were: Presiding Commissioner Curtis Livengood, South District Commissioner Richard Burke, North District Commissioner Jim Quimby, and Susette Taylor, Clerk of the Commission.

Minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved. Bills were reviewed and approved.

At 9:30 a.m. the meeting moved to the Velma Houts Building in Rock Port, where the commission met with approximately 70 citizens and business owners who have been directly affected by the flooding in Atchison County. Also present to assist with addressing concerns were: Rhonda Wiley, Emergency Management Director; Marty Liles, District Engineer with MoDOT; Gary Apel and R. T. Turner, KCP&L; Donna Clark Fuller, Atchison-Holt Disaster Relief Committee; Brandt Shields, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt’s office; Troy LaHue, Jason Garst, Garry Garst, and Ryan Ottmann, Atchison County Levee District; Joe Hegeman, Congressman Sam Graves’ office; Kevin Deohant and Jerry Clemens, Atchison-Holt Electric Cooperative; and Chris Rader, NRCS.

Presiding Commissioner Livengood opened the meeting with introductions and turned the floor over to Richard Oswald, who presented concerns and question regarding the disaster assessment process with SEMA and FEMA.

Questions asked included:

How does the assessment come into play while staying in compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program?

Is the BNSF required to have a Flood Plain Permit? Do they?

Will there be additional drainage added as the rail is repaired?

Emergency Management Director Wiley addressed Mr. Oswald’s questions by stating that current assessment process is already underway where they are able to get in and assess the damage. Some areas are still not accessible due to water levels. She further stated that the number of homes that needed to have major damage or be destroyed for an IA Declaration (Individual Assistance) was a total of 300 home statewide. Homes with 18” or more of water would be considered major damaged. She also stated that she was working closely with SEMA and FEMA to help them understand that a home that has less than 18” of water that stands for a length of time will cause damage higher than the 18” due to mold and wicking up the interior.

PA (Public Assessment) Declaration is determined by the amount of damage to public infrastructure. That is also being currently assessed by Director Wiley and a team from SEMA and FEMA, and Road & Bridge Supervisor Adam Meyer.

There are a number of counties currently being assessed for damages and the totals from all assessments will be combined to reach the numbers needed for a federal declaration.

If Individual Assistance is granted, funds must be used to elevate the structure, move the structure or destroy the structure. This is done through an application process with FEMA.

Every structure built within the flood plain is required to have an Atchison County Flood Permit, including the railroad, who has currently not applied for one. Frustration was voiced over their ability to move forward and not comply with the rules and regulations. Presiding Commissioner Livengood is continuing to look into this issue and has had Clerk Taylor send a copy of the County Flood Plain Ordinance to Attorney Ivan Schraeder to see what, if any, options the county may have.

Director Wiley then addressed private flood insurance and stated that assessments are done by their personal agent or adjustor.

Ryan Ottmann, Atchison County Levee Board member, gave a report on the extent of the damage to the levee system and how they are working with the Corps to secure repairs. At this point Atchison County is not a priority for repair, but the contract has been let on the large break to the north near Plattsmouth, Nebraska.

The group requested a list of state and federal contacts that could be distributed for those who may wish to contact them with concerns and the need for a federal declaration.

Ronda Lingerfelt asked if it would be possible to form a county task force to increase social media attention and also an outlet for public information. The commission agreed to look into this.

Marty Liles, MoDOT District Engineer, gave a presentation on the extent of the damage to Highway 136 and Highway 59. He stated that they were moving forward with contracts for the needed repairs, and have requested a special letting, so work can begin once the water is down. That may be several months with the current inflow of water and the current in the areas where major repairs are needed. Adam Meyerkorth said that if the contractor could get in and slow the current or divert some of the pressure off the areas that are severely damaged it might help keep the rest of the highway from washing out.

Mr. Oswald inquired about the bridge over the Missouri River. Mr. Liles stated they had no reason at this time to believe the integrity of the bridge was compromised. In closing Mr. Liles stated that Iowa hopes to have repairs to I-29 complete by the end of May.

Mr. Liles stated that they are in the process of getting a new website up and running which will go live soon. The site is: www.modot.org/2019-northwest-missouri-flooding

Reports were given by KCP&L and Atchison-Holt Electric. KCP&L currently has limited power into Watson due to damage, and Atchison-Holt has the ability to turn power on in the area as long as it is safe.

Clerk Taylor reported that anyone on a drainage district who needs assistance should contact Chris Rader, NRCS District Conservationist, 660-442-3173, Ext. 113.

Road districts were given information about how to begin needed repairs and track hours, equipment, etc., so they are prepared when the county receives the federal declaration.

Clerk Taylor announced there will be a meeting on Tuesday, May 7, at the Velma Houts Building at 9:00 a.m. for any political subdivision that would like to hear about the community facilities direct loan and grant program. This is not flood related and is available to all cities, villages, road districts, fire districts, etc.

A Missouri Flood Recovery Assistance meeting will be held on May 2, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. USDA and state partner agencies are hosting the informational meeting about flood recovery resources available for agricultural producers in Missouri.

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The Commission met Tuesday, April 23, 2019. Present were: Presiding Commissioner Curtis Livengood, South District Commissioner Richard Burke, North District Commissioner Jim Quimby, and Susette Taylor, Clerk of the Commission.

Minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved. Bills were reviewed and approved.

The commissioners and Clerk Taylor traveled to Remington Nature Center in St. Joseph, Missouri, to meet with Congressman Sam Graves. Congressman Graves gave an update on what he is continuing to do in Washington to bring attention to the Army Corps of Engineers and the Master Manual. He reported that he felt confident that Governor Parsons would be submitting his request for a Federal Disaster Declaration within the week.

He took questions and statements from the group that was centered on practices the Corps is using that do not work. He felt pictures, personal letters, and e-mails to all the members of Congress would assist in educating them on life along the Missouri River.