The city of Leawood is still assessing how much it will spend to recover from severe flooding in July but early evaluations put the estimates at $200,000.
That number is expected to grow.
“We are still in the assessment stage. The estimates I sent to the county were about $200,000 in loss, but that was last week,” said Fire Chief Dave Williams. “That doesn’t include any of the things with insurance on it or anything we’ve discovered since. We’re probably going to be well over the $200,000 mark.”
Kansas is looking to classify the flooding as a state disaster. Johnson County’s damage estimates are in the $2 million range and the state’s estimate of damage is double, Williams said. Qualifying as a disaster would make the state eligible for federal assistance for restoring public facilities and property destroyed by a damaging event.
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Like the rest of the metro area, Leawood dealt with severe thunderstorms and flash floods July 22 and July 27. The latter weather event caused Johnson County officials to declare a state of local disaster. Between 4 and 7 inches of rain fell across the area within a short period of time, according to the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill.
Tomahawk Creek at Roe Avenue in Leawood reached a record level of 20.81 feet, more than a foot above the previous record.
Parks and Recreation Director Chris Claxton said the July 22 weather event was treated like any other significant thunderstorm. The city dealt with debris and mud clean up. Ten residents on the south side of Leawood scheduled curbside limb pickup through the city’s Public Works Department.
The July 27 event, however, is classified as severe. Many city officials said that the floods were the worst they’ve seen in decades.
Much of the damage from the July 27 storm occurred at the Parks and Recreation Department’s maintenance facility located near Indian Creek at 104th Street at State Line Road. All the parks and recreation department’s heavy equipment and supplies are stored there.
About two feet of muddy storm water flooded the building, damaging everything inside. A hazardous materials clean-up was performed on the building due to the chemicals, oil, and gas that are stored in the building. Parks staff have been relocated to another facility and the department is borrowing equipment for the time being.
In addition to the city golf course, a fire truck, and city park, 30 residential and commercial structures flooded. Water reached the rim of the basketball goals located within the east side of the park on Lee Boulevard. Fortunately, the city’s new all-inclusive playground that opened in June was not damaged.
City Administrator Scott Lambers said he would like the city to consider moving the maintenance facility to a new location on higher ground. He’ll research options and present his suggestions at a future council meeting.
The ongoing clean-up efforts are being carried out by city employees in addition to their regular duties, which Lambers expects will cause the city to exceed their overtime budget for the year. Overtime wages are not covered by insurance so they are being calculated into the city’s damage estimates. The city, this week, adopted their new annual budget for fiscal year 2018 that begins January 1, but the unexpected overtime expenses won’t affect the future budget. The overtime expenses will be factored into 2017’s budget as a line item at the end of the fiscal year.