Beavercreek City Manager Pete Landrum said the city now expects to spend at least $2 million on costs related to the EF3 that hit there on Memorial Day.
Beavercreek is one of three Ohio cities without an income tax, creating unique challenges in funding recovery efforts, according to Landrum.
The Dayton Daily News asked leaders in the affected communities for progress reports one month after 15 tornadoes struck southwest Ohio on May 27, including what has changed in the weeks since then and what the biggest remaining needs and concerns are going forward.
What has changed in recovery efforts in the month since the tornadoes struck?
FEMA has now opened a Disaster Recovery Center in Beavercreek at Shaw Elementary this past week and a FEMA Disaster Survivor Team began canvasing going door to door in affected areas on June 22.
The city has attempted to take on a known expense for residents, which was the tree and brush removal, City Manager Pete Landrum said. “This we knew for a fact was not covered by any insurance. Taking on this burden, which we were glad that we could assist, really has improved the area and allowed for utility crews and construction crews to begin the repairs and rebuilding process.”
What do you want to tell residents?
The city of Beavercreek is continuing to pick up tree and brush debris, and a last put out date has not been determined. The city continues to monitor all of the types of debris. “We continue to encourage residents to check with their insurance companies regarding construction debris removal as most policies have some coverage, not including deductibles,” Landrum said.
The city also encourages resident to meet with FEMA and the SBA, and to not wait. “Ask your questions now, while they are here,” Landrum said.
How much has your city spent so far on storm costs?
Beavercreek submitted estimated costs to FEMA this past week of an estimated $1.2 million in expenditures as part of the FEMA PA (Public Assistance) application. “We are uncertain about the time-frame, but we were initially told 2-3 months before we’d know something. We are anticipating an estimated $2 million in costs from the storm,” he said.
What are you worried about now?
“With having levies (property tax) and no income tax, we do not have the flexibility and are not permitted by law to utilize other restricted funds for this storm emergency,” Landrum said. Other levies, like Police, Parks and Street Capital, are restricted funds and can only be used for the purpose for which they were voted for.
The city has delayed several projects and reduced street paving as much as possible (things that were not already started and under contract), and have reduced the street funds down from 20% cash reserve to 10% to begin paying for the expenses.
BEFORE & AFTER PHOTOS: Aerial views of Beavercreek neighborhoods
The general fund will be the second source of funding, and reserves will also have to be spent. Any additional expenditures much above the $2 million mark, the city will have to consider its options on borrowing funding.
Even if FEMA approves the assistance, it is on a reimbursement basis and can take significant time to see the funding. Also, FEMA approval covers only 75% of the expenses, so the city could still be responsible for a 25% match (depending on if the state would assist).
What are you hopeful about now?
With help from Centerville-Washington Park District, the city was able to re-open Spicer Heights Park this past week. Residents were excited for it to reopen as it does give some sense of normalcy to the area and to their lives.