Other views: Officials need to be ready for when river is ‘normal’When the Missouri River returns to “normal,” it will be well into the second half of the construction season and people with flood damage will have a new challenge. They will no longer be racing to build flood protection before the river crests, but they will be pushed by winter’s too-quick approach.
By: The Bismarck Tribune, The Jamestown Sun
When the Missouri River returns to “normal,” it will be well into the second half of the construction season and people with flood damage will have a new challenge. They will no longer be racing to build flood protection before the river crests, but they will be pushed by winter’s too-quick approach.
In anticipation, the cities and counties here should be ready to deal with a wide range of predictable and practical flood-recovery issues — building permits, inspections, occupancy permits, appraisals, zoning issues. Home and business owners challenged to get things done in a timely fashion need to be able to count on local government to be ready.
It was good to learn that Bismarck school administrators were creating a plan in the event elementary schools on the south side are not ready for classes in August. Recently, assessors and others from Bismarck, Mandan and Burleigh and Morton counties met with their peers from Grand Forks to get a heads-up on what to expect. There are a lot of nuts-and-bolts type things that can be organized before the Missouri River backs off. From all appearances, city and county officials are on the fast track.
There will be surprises and unpleasant discoveries. The frank talk from Burleigh County Extension Agent ElRoy Haaden about the demise of many of the trees along the river is a prime example. It’s emotionally heart breaking. Clearing the dead wood will be a challenge. It will leave a visible mark on Bismarck-Mandan.
There will be damaged roads needing repair, as well as water and sewer lines, curb and gutter and utilities. All requiring necessary work before things can be made right.
The situation in Minot will be worse, with hundreds of homes slated for demolition and elementary and middle-school classrooms for more than 1,000 students out of commission for the start of school in August.
It will be difficult.
Paying for it will be doubly difficult — both in price and in determining who pays. There will be help from the state and federal governments, but locally people will have to shoulder a fair share of the cost of recovery. Bismarck-Mandan officials have already begun discussion on how to go about financing a recovery. Unfortunately, too many questions remain, not the least of which is when the “event” will be over, for there to be any firm answers about costs. Also, there will be some big questions about building in the flood plain and constructing to 100- or 500-year flood elevations.
First, the cities and counties need to be ready to expedite the government side of cleanup and rehab efforts for those with damage from the flood. It will be important to keep surprises for flood-affected property owners to a minimum.