Reedsburg area continues flood cleanup

September 26, 2018

As preliminary work begins to receiving possible federal assistance from the 2018 floods locals are continuing cleanup efforts and in some cases dealing with insurance.

The first step to receiving federal dollars begins the week of Sept. 24 with Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration and Wisconsin Emergency Management representatives scheduled to begin preliminary damage assessments, which are estimated to take about a week to complete.

“Right now we’re kind of in a holding pattern,” Jeff Jelinek, emergency management director for Sauk County said Sept. 18. “It’s kind of hard talking about what is going to happen because I don’t know what is going to happen with the presidential declaration.”

Aid has been offered from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation in the form of no interest loans for $10,000 for residents and $15,000 for small businesses to help with clean up and repair efforts. According to the city of Reedsburg’s website, the city is seeking applications for Community Development Block Grant applications for eligible projects. Additional information and applications can be found on the city website under the City Flood Response tab.

If the federal declaration is approved, Jelinek said people will have to fill out an application to have someone from the federal government inspect their homes. He added the county is now in “short-term recovery” with volunteers helping residents with cleaning efforts. But that’s only the beginning towards a long recovery effort in the aftermath of the floods.

Dealing with insurance

Meg Ahlstrom, who lives on Main Street, had about seven feet of water in her basement during the first week of flooding in late August. During the second week, she said water seeped in but didn’t get into the basement. She has flood insurance because of her home under a mortgage which replaced and covered her hot water heater and boiler.

“My flood insurance that all went pretty quick and things have settled there now,” she said. “It’s just a matter of getting everything repaired and then making sure it matches up with what the insurance gave me.”

Her insurance will not cover the replacement of the washer, dryer, freezer and refrigerator in her basement. She added personal items stored in her garage, which had four feet of water, included a lawn mower which isn’t covered by insurance.

“It will cover quite a bit of stuff, but it doesn’t cover everything,” she said.

Vicki Garmon, a Reedsburg resident owns a house with her boyfriend of almost two decades Arlie Buchal on La Valle Street. Their house and garage were left unscathed by the flood but under a shelter area containing heavy machinery equipment, such as a wood chipper and brush cutter, used on their property for upkeep and gardening sustained damage due to the flood.

The week of Sept. 19 the equipment was being taken away for assessment see if it could be saved or replaced. The couple said they have insurance on the equipment but don’t know how much will be covered. Garmon said some of the equipment had been paid off while they were still paying loans on others.

“We’re not sure how much is covered,” she said. “I hope they (the company) are going to replace it.”

She said she is hoping insurance covers the equipment. However, there are some things money can’t buy back, like her parents belongings and grand children’s toys stored in a nearby shed that were lost.

“(I) saved a couple of things, but I don’t know if they can still be used,” she said. “I’m hoping I can figure a way of getting them cleaned and able to use again.”

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