Recovery

Madison, Wisconsin's Emergency Costs From August Flooding Set at $1.6 Million

The Aug. 20 storm delivered more than 11 inches of rain in parts of Madison. The event caused significant flooding in some areas. In the following weeks, more rain fell reaching historic levels in excess of a 100-year flood elevation.

by Dean Mosiman, The Wisconsin State Journal / February 6, 2019
Joman Schachter makes his way down the Yahara River in an inner tube at Tenney Park in Madison, Wis., Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018. Schachter hoped to float all the way home, which is near Olbrich. AP/Amber Arnold

(TNS) — Madison incurred $1.64 million in emergency operational and capital costs related to heavy flooding after torrential rains on Aug. 20, 2018, a new memo from the city's finance director says.

The amount reflects spending in all city agencies from the time of the flooding through Jan. 24, finance director David Schmiedicke said Tuesday. The city is seeking reimbursement of the spending from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, he said.

The spending was initially covered in the 2018 budget. The sum doesn't include costs incurred by other municipalities, Dane County and the state.

Schmiedicke's memo accompanies a resolution Mayor Paul Soglin introduced to the City Council on Tuesday. The resolution, if approved by the council at a later date, would end a declared public works emergency needed to make quick repairs to roads, bike paths, drainage facilities, sanitary sewers, shorelines and other public infrastructure. The city also undertook significant effort to protect private properties from damage.

"It basically closes emergency cost spending on the immediate response," assistant city engineer Greg Fries said.

The public works emergency let the city quickly obtain construction services from private contractors without going through a lengthy bidding process, the resolution says. Additional repairs must still be made, but will be done using standard bidding procedures, it says.

In November, the council adopted a budget amendment delivering an additional $6.97 million for city-wide flood mitigation in 2019. The increase includes $775,000 for watershed, flood and planning studies; $1.17 for land acquisitions; and $5 million for public works projects that are a direct result from last summer's flooding.

The Aug. 20 storm delivered more than 11 inches of rain in parts of Madison, with the heaviest amounts on the city's West Side. The event caused significant flooding in some areas. In the following weeks, more rain fell with Lake Monona and its tributaries reaching historic levels in excess of a 100-year flood elevation.

The expenses included $1.1 million in operational costs, mostly for personnel, including $480,338 from the Stormwater Utility, $186,428 from the Streets Division, and $151,953 from Parks Division, Schmiedicke's memo says.

In all, 16 city agencies reported flood-related operational costs, it says.

The city also spent $550,505 in capital costs, including $219,199 for stormwater system repair, $142,173 for sewer repair at Olin-Turville Park, and $122,789 for street repairs in the Engineering Division.

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©2019 The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.)

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