The city of Roanoke Rapids will probably see about $500,000 in total damage from the Aug. 25 floods, but city leaders are not concerned about finding money to pay for the damage, thanks in some part to the current lease with an option to purchase agreement for the former Roanoke Rapids Theatre.
City Manager Joe Scherer told city council members Tuesday damage estimates already enumerated equal about $400,000 in damages to infrastructure and facilities, but believes that number will increase.
“By the time it’s all said and done, I think it will be closer to $500,000,” Scherer said.
However, Scherer expressed confidence the city will not go into any negative financial situation to pay for the damages. This week, he said, $235,000 from the state to help pay for damages from the April 16, 2011, tornado and last summer’s Hurricane Irene is due, and with the city already having budgeted repairs for those events, that money can be applied toward current repairs.
Scherer said he expects an appropriation of $300,000 will cover the rest, with 75 percent reimbursement from the state expected. Given the reimbursement amounts and the $235,000 amount already coming in, that should put the city in positive numbers.
“That $235,000 is like a bonus,” he said.
Scherer said the state reimbursement will be sought on an ongoing basis as repairs are made, and has been told the state has already set “a pot of money” aside for reimbursements.
However, Scherer said, $80,000 in repairs will be necessary to the city’s Parks and Recreation department’s facilities, which will not be covered due to the city not having flood insurance.
These expenses, Scherer said, could be paid for by $80,000 out of the $150,000 theater expense fund, money the city is not using for the theater due to the fact HSV Entertainment LLC is leasing the newly-renamed Royal Palace Theatre from the city.
As repairs continue, Public Works Director Larry Chalker said Franklin Street is open to traffic, though the city is still planning on adding pavement.
Other areas needing repair include six street washouts of various sizes, including an area at the intersection of East 4th Street and Marshall Street that needs attention immediately. The city also has a number of sinkholes, three of which are on city rights of way, Chalker said. The city also will have to address a sinkhole in Long Park next to the T.J. Davis Recreation Center.
This sinkhole, Chalker said, was caused when a pipe large enough for workers to walk through was bent almost double by the flood waters.
Damage to Parks and Recreation facilities include $55,000 in damages to the Chaloner Recreation Center, Parks and Recreation Director John Simeon said, and around $8,000 in washout repairs to walking trails around the city.
Chalker estimates the city has already hauled 150 tons of debris from the floods and expects that number to top out at 200 tons. As those pickups and repairs continue, however, Chalker said any damage to ditches and pipes will have to be examined on an individual basis.
“We face this every day,” Chalker said. “We have to look at each individual case.”
Chalker said many city residents have reported damage to pipes and ditches on their property, but the city can only repair those items they own or have easements on.
“We cannot do work on private property,” Scherer said. “Not unless we have a recorded easement. It opens us up to too much liability.”
Also at the meeting:
-Interim Police Chief Jeff Hinton said the city would recognize Halloween festivities between 6 and 8:30 p.m. Oct. 31.