City Manager: Lowell Needs State Funding After Flooding

Posted at 6:43 PM, Apr 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-23 19:30:08-04

Flood damage in the city of Grand Rapids could reach $300,000 to a half million dollars, according to Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell.

However, because the city has a million dollars in its rainy day fund, the mayor said the city is prepared to absorb the cost if the state doesn’t help.

It’s a much different story for the city of Lowell.

“We are at the point now where we’re trying to figure out what the extent of the damage is,” Mark Howe, Lowell’s city manager said.

Flooded basements and businesses, along with blocked streets are the norm this week.

Even a church couldn’t escape the flooding of the Grand River.

“Folks are gonna need some assistance with that damage,” Howe said.

He said the water has got more receding to do before his team gets a good grasp on the amount of damage they’re dealing with.

“We’re working with Kent County Emergency Management. They’re spearheading the effort to conduct a damage assessment,” Howe said.

“We’ll do assessments of both private and public property, and we’ll base the assessment on the next step in the disaster process as to whether we make a disaster declaration to the governor,” Jack Stewart, Director of Kent County Emergency Management explained.

Howe said the city exhausted its resources fighting the flood. There’s the cost of hundreds of sandbags, extra police officers on the street, and the list goes on.

Those are just a couple reasons why he’s looking for the state to provide financial relief.

“We’ve had extensive cuts in our budget over the last several years, and any assistance that we can get from the state to help us recover those costs is almost essential,” Howe explained.

Mayor Heartwell said he had a conversation with Governor Snyder. He said the state doesn’t have a fund set aside for relief. If the state wants to help, the legislature would have to pass an amendment for disaster relief funding.

Georgetown Township’s manager said funding would be accepted from the state, however, they’re not expecting any aid because the area wasn’t damaged enough to qualify.

Grandville said it would also accept funding. However, like other areas, it’s too early to tell how bad the damage is. They need the water to recede first in order to assess.

FOX 17 reached out to Governor Snyder’s office for comment on flooding relief, but we have yet to receive a response.