More about flood relief efforts and the Legislature

April 16, 2019

I have received inquiries regarding the status of Highway 15 closure at Schuyler. M.E. Collins Contracting out of Wahoo is the contractor on the project and they are preparing the area and have begun reconstruction of the highway.

It is the Department of Transportation’s priority to rebuild the roadway completely and not provide temporary access. DOT estimates the rebuild will be completed in June 2019. There is also an interactive website that provides information on the road closures around the state and the estimated completion date. To find this information go to https://dot.nebraska.gov/news-media/nebraska-flood-2019/.

As flood relief continues, FEMA will be opening additional Disaster Relief Centers one in Butler County located at the Bellwood Volunteer Fire Department beginning April 22nd through April 25th, hours of operation will be 9AM to 6PM daily. A second DRC for Colfax County is located at the Colfax County Courthouse in Schuyler and is open April 16 through April 20th from 9AM to 6PM. Recovery specialists from FEMA and the SBA will be on hand to help those affected by the flood apply for individual assistance, assist with appeals and apply for low interest loans. These centers are equipped with captioned phones, video remote interpreting and assistive listening devices. Finally, FEMA and the SBA urge flood victims to be aware of potential scams. FEMA and SBA personnel will always carry official identification cards, will never ask for personal information during inspections and will already have the nine digit application number assigned to you. I would encourage anyone who has flood damage to speak with a FEMA representative to fully understand your options in applying for assistance.

In the Legislature, LB698, my priority bill, was debated on the floor last week and it was advanced to Select File. LB698 changes load provisions and penalties for commercial vehicles and trailers to address the issue of commercial vehicles losing loads and trash on Hwy 92 and other roadways throughout the state. Additionally, LB512 was also advanced to Select File, the bill, in part, would provide property tax relief to those whose property is damaged or destroyed due to a natural disaster that occurs after the January 1 assessment date. Property owners who have experienced a loss of or damage to their property due to a major calamity may petition the county assessor by July 15 for a reassessment of the property’s value for that tax year.

During Holy week I hope everyone will be able to take time for rest and reflection, time to be with family and share in the many blessings we have. Staying focused on the Easter message of Jesus resurrection may you and your family have a blessed Easter.

I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.