Government & Politics

Top Missouri budgeter allots $13 million for flood aid, but says figure is still a guess

Devastating floods threaten to end farming career for Bruce Biermann in northwest Missouri

After devastating floods hit his property in March, farmer Bruce Biermann of Mound City, Mo., who grows corn and soybeans on 1,700 acres of farmland near Corning, Missouri in Holt County, says the damage threatens to end his career in farming.
Up Next
After devastating floods hit his property in March, farmer Bruce Biermann of Mound City, Mo., who grows corn and soybeans on 1,700 acres of farmland near Corning, Missouri in Holt County, says the damage threatens to end his career in farming.

The Missouri Senate’s top budgeter has set aside $13 million for flood recovery and reconstruction, but acknowledged that the figure represents only a guess until the state collects better information about the extent of the damage.

Appropriations Chair Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby, whose northwest Missouri district sustained heavy damage, placed $5 million for infrastructure repair and $8 million for emergency grants into the proposed 2020 budget during hearings Tuesday and Wednesday. The spending, as well as the larger budget, still need several rounds of approval before hitting Gov. Mike Parson’s desk.

Hegeman said the amounts were “placeholders” that could be changed when the water finally recedes completely.

“I’m guessing and hoping that the amount I put in will cover the costs,” Hegeman said.

The state is also expected to qualify for federal assistance. Preliminary damage assessments are underway in seven counties, according to the governor’s office. In order to apply for a federal disaster declaration and qualify for federal aid, the state must have nearly $9 million in damage.

Though damage totals haven’t been tallied, Hegeman said at least one bridge -- the U.S. Route 159 over Little Tarkio Creek - must be replaced, at an estimated cost of at least $2 million.

The grants could be distributed to counties and road districts for levee repairs or floodwalls, Hegeman said.

“Now, much of this farmland, much of these properties, don’t have protection from even a modest rise in the river,” Hegeman said.

If the budget remains unchanged, the funds would be available statewide.

“Mind you, this flooding affects everyone,” Hegeman said. “We’ve got most of the attention in northwest Missouri and Nebraska and Iowa, but the Mississippi (River)’s been flooding, too.”

Related stories from Kansas City Star

Crystal Thomas covers Missouri politics for The Kansas City Star. An Illinois native and a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, she has experience covering state and local government.

  Comments