DuPage flood damage estimates top $6.5 million

Posted5/1/2013 6:08 PM
  • Naperville is one of the DuPage County communities seeking federal assistance to help pay for the cleanup costs related to last month's floods.

      Naperville is one of the DuPage County communities seeking federal assistance to help pay for the cleanup costs related to last month's floods. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

Cleaning up the aftermath of last month's widespread floods will cost communities throughout DuPage County at least $6.58 million.

The estimate provided Wednesday more than doubles the $3.16 million threshold for DuPage to qualify for federal assistance.

Municipalities, libraries and other local governments now need to see if the state surpasses $17.57 million in total flood damage costs. If that happens, the entities will be eligible for reimbursement for up to 75 percent of their cleanup expenses.

Patti Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, said it's too early to know if the state will reach its threshold, but it looks likely.

"Given the number of counties we have and the type of damage that we know about, there's probably a good chance we'll make that," she said.

Federal, state and county officials are planning to meet next week to determine if local governmental agencies will receive assistance.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 45 public assistance forms were submitted to DuPage County's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Officials said they were expecting to get up to 15 additional forms.

DuPage County government submitted the largest cost estimate of at least $847,388. A county spokeswoman said DuPage's expenses included repairs to the county complex in Wheaton and emergency protective measures taken by the sheriff's office and other departments.

Meanwhile, Naperville is seeking about $702,377 to help pay for citywide debris removal, overtime expenses, road and bridge repairs, equipment repairs and other expenses.

Naperville officials also have requested an additional $117,394 for equipment expenses, road repairs and utility repairs on the Will County side of the city.

Glen Ellyn Public Library has an estimated $693,000 in uninsured losses from the flooding that left the building's subbasement under five feet of water and caused extensive damage to the first floor circulation department and public meeting rooms.

Director Dawn Bussey said the library has resumed normal operations but doesn't have heating or air conditioning.

Those and other mechanical systems for the building were damaged when the subbasement flooded.

"It all has to be worked on, at least," said Bussey, adding some major components may have to be replaced. "The boilers themselves were completely destroyed and have been removed from that space completely."

Most of the federal money the library is seeking is to pay for repairs to the mechanical equipment.

"We also did sustain some damage to drywall, installation, carpet and things like that," Bussey said. "But those are fairly minor in comparison to the mechanical equipment that has to be replaced."

While the library has flood and sewer backup insurance, Bussey said, the insurance money the library expects to receive won't pay for everything.

It's unknown how long all the repairs are going to take.

"Each day we just keep working on systems and trying to get things back in operation again," Bussey said.

Other taxing bodies facing significant cleanup costs are DuPage County Health Department ($616,300), Elmhurst ($447,400), Villa Park ($284,000), Clarendon Hills ($275,272), Downers Grove ($234,000), Wheaton ($176,740) and Lombard ($95,344).

Multiple taxing bodies from Lisle, one of the towns hardest hit, have submitted forms. The expense are: $85,760 for the park district, $72,975 for the public works department, $59,147 for the village, and $30,960 for the Lisle-Woodridge Fire District. Officials have said the estimates for Lisle likely will increase.

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