Metro still calculating cost of flood damage to infrastructure

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 12:16pm

Metro officials have yet to attach an overall dollar figure to public infrastructure damages sustained during recent flooding, but early cost assessments from individual departments appear significant.

Metro Finance Director Richard Riebeling has previously said he expects the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay for about 75 percent of city government damages. Metro will also rely partly on its self-insurance plan, which should reimburse the city for certain building and equipment repairs.

Mayor Karl Dean said Wednesday the city is also allocating dollars from its 4 percent fund, which is carved out of Metro’s general fund, to flood-related repairs. Under normal circumstances, money from the 4 percent fund is used for unexpected equipment repairs throughout the year.

Redirecting the city’s 4 percent fund will give Metro $14.7 million for flood-related repairs during the current fiscal year, and another $23 million for the 2010-2011 fiscal year, which Dean acknowledged could prevent Metro from making some equipment repairs it had planned prior to the flood.

“We are still early in the recovery process, and we don’t know what the total impact on our local government will be,” Dean said. “We need to focus on recovery first and money later. I believe our recovery takes precedence over costs.”

Metro Water Services Director Scott Potter said officials have identified some $200 million worth of damages to the water department’s facilities and infrastructure.

That includes $40 million to repair the K.R. Harrington water treatment plant, which is still not functioning after being inundated by floodwater. In addition, Potter estimated it will cost $100 million to repair the city’s Dry Creek wastewater treatment plant. Another $2.5 million is needed to pay the water department’s employees for overtime hours worked during the flood’s aftermath.

Metro Public Works Director Billy Lynch, meanwhile, said Metro and FEMA officials have identified more than $17 million in repairs to roads, bridges and traffic signals. Metro has hired an outside company to help Public Works clean up debris. So far, Lynch said more than 31,000 tons of debris has been collected.

Metro Fire Chief Stephen Halford said the fire department has experienced more than $600,000 in equipment costs as a result of the flood, and owes its firemen nearly $200,000 in overtime pay.

Another $2.5 million in overtime pay will need to be directed to police officers, according to Interim Police Chief Steve Anderson.

3 Comments on this post:

By: NewYorker1 on 5/19/10 at 1:30

Sounds like an excuse to increase prices. You'd think that these companies would have plans in place for these types of things. Can a new CEO step up to the plate and have better plans in place?

By: Oldasdirtguy on 5/19/10 at 4:31

Considering the terrain and spread of the county, we're probably lucky to get off this easy.

Why would a flood plan be in place in a city that doesn't flood? Duh!

Hats off to Metro Water, FEMA, Public Works for their great response and commitment to those of us who have been damaged.

By: Wilson4949 on 5/19/10 at 8:32

NewYorker1

If you tried to learn anything about Nashville you may have actually learned that Public Works and Metro Water are not actually companies as you assumed but are departments of the city/county government of Nashville and Davidson County (Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County). The services provided by the Public Works Department are funded by property taxes collected by the city. The services provided by Metro Water are funded by the fees paid by the rate payers who use the water and sewer services. The people you criticized are mostly long term public servants who care about Nashville and feel satisfaction in providing required services to their fellow citizens. It is obvious the realities of living in Nashville are unbelieveably subpar to where ever it is you are from. It seems very likely that you would be much happier if you moved back to the place from which you came. Try surfing www.nashville.gov some time.