Even with Mississippi River levels still high, Madison County is starting to surveying flood damage so that it will be able to request federal disaster assistance.
“Local agencies are working tirelessly to ensure public safety and to protect the residents and businesses of the county,” Chairman Kurt Prenzler said in a release.
Prenzler said the damage assessment follows the governor’s proclamation on Friday declaring 34 counties, including Madison County, a disaster. The declaration makes a wide variety of state resources available that can help communities respond and recover from flooding.
“In order for communities to receive federal disaster funding the governor must declare a disaster and the state must meet a specific threshold in damage,” Prenzler said. “Communities should report everything related to flooding.”
Prenzler said although the floodwaters have not receded, there is damage from the flooding throughout the county.
“We know there will be infrastructure damage, not just along the river, but areas behind the levee systems and along the creeks and streams due to the heavy rains that poured down on already already-saturated soils, damaging public infrastructure like roads and culverts,” Prenzler said.
With rains continuing and flood waters expected to rise again it will take weeks to gather the initial damage assessment information from local communities. Flooding on the Mississippi River began in March and interior flooding, or flooding behind the Wood River Drainage and Levee District and Metro East Sanitary District levees, followed after several heavy storms in April.
Madison County Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director Mary Kate Brown said the proclamation does not change the county’s flood fighting efforts, but it does affect how it will proceed with damage assessment and recovery.
“Everyone will be compiling their costs from flooding damage including volunteer hours, labor costs, equipment costs, etc.,” Brown said. “If the state as a whole meet’s FEMA’s damage per capita threshold, which is roughly $19.2 million, then the county can proceed with filing for federal reimbursement.”
There are two separate federal assistance programs. The Individual Assistance program, which offers grants and low-interest loans to people affected by disasters and the Public Assistance program.
The Public Assistance program provides reimbursement up to 75 percent of eligible costs incurred by local governments dealing with disaster and subsequent recovery. Once the state meets the statewide threshold, individual counties also have to meet a threshold of $3.56 times the county’s population.
Brown said for damage to count it must be uninsured property.
“Rather than residential structures we are looking at public infrastructures like sewage and drainage systems, damaged roadways, etc.,” she said. “It’s this kind of stuff that adds up fast with a flooding event.”
The disaster declaration allows for property owners to get relief as well.
Chief County Assessor Joe Dauderman said that for any property that’s been damaged an owner could file a Disaster Area Application for Reassessment, or Form PTAX-245.
“This form allows those with property that suffered damage due to the floods to file for property tax relief,” Dauderman said.
Dauderman said after a property owner files for relief, the Chief County Assessment Officer will reassess any taxable property that was substantially damaged. Once the application is filed, assessment officials will complete an onsite inspection of the property to determine the proper assessment reduction.
In the reassessment, the value of the property shall be determined as of the date of the declaration.
The PTAX-245 form is available on the Chief County Assessment Official’s website https://www.co.madison.il.us/departments/chief_county_assesment_office/index.php and may be picked up at the Chief County Assessment Office or any Township Assessor’s office.