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Costs mounting as Davenport recovers from river flooding

May 21, 2019
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FILE - In this Friday, May 3, 2019, aerial file photo, flood waters from the Mississippi River surround Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, Iowa. Officials in Davenport say the city's public works department has spent over $1 million on flood-fighting efforts and that figure will surely rise as more costs are added in preparation for the potential of future flooding. The Quad-City Times reports that Davenport Public Works Director Nicole Gleason says the future outlays are tough to project, but noted the flooding costs put pressure on a department where there are a limited number of workers already managing several other obligations. (Kevin E. Schmidt/Quad City Times via AP, File)/Quad City Times via AP)
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FILE - In this Friday, May 3, 2019, aerial file photo, flood waters from the Mississippi River surround Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, Iowa. Officials in Davenport say the city's public works department has spent over $1 million on flood-fighting efforts and that figure will surely rise as more costs are added in preparation for the potential of future flooding. The Quad-City Times reports that Davenport Public Works Director Nicole Gleason says the future outlays are tough to project, but noted the flooding costs put pressure on a department where there are a limited number of workers already managing several other obligations. (Kevin E. Schmidt/Quad City Times via AP, File)/Quad City Times via AP)

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Davenport’s public works department has spent more than $1 million on fighting floods this spring and that figure is expected to rise as the city prepares to hold back future deluges, officials said.

A provisional flood barricade holding back the Mississippi River ruptured on April 30, sending floodwaters into downtown Davenport.

Nicole Gleason, director of Davenport Public Works, said future outlays are tough to project. The city will have to build and preserve flood walls in an effort to thwart more Mississippi River flooding, Gleason told the Quad-City Times . She said the flooding costs put pressure on a department that already has a limited number of workers with numerous other obligations to manage.

There are still sewer lines to fix and potholes to fill, among the issues that need to be addressed, Gleason added, highlighting the cost of overtime as a primary cost driver for the public works department.

“We don’t just get to put the city on hold,” she said. “We’re just still trying to get as much done as we can.”

The expenditure for cleanup and recovery efforts includes facility-related costs, money for signs, labor for public works crews, resources such as sandbags and equipment use.

The current unaccounted expenditures include replacing the equipment destroyed by the flood and money paid to contractors.

“We’re easily talking triple to quadruple” the cost in a normal year, Gleason added.

As the recovery efforts continue on the Iowa side of the river, ongoing cleanup is also straining the public works crews in Moline, Illinois. Portions of the city’s River Drive remained closed Monday for cleanup and assessment.

“It’s expensive. Really expensive,” said Rodd Schick, Moline’s general manager of municipal services.

As of last week, Schick noted the current total was about $215,000 for this year’s flood-fighting efforts. Those costs include keeping pumps running and the wages for the people who operate them around the clock.

There’s an extra cost to be considered when flood fighting hinders the department’s ability to complete some of the other summertime projects, such as putting sealant on cracked roadways, according to Schick.

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Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com

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