As the second wave of heavy rains and flooding hit both Sedgwick and Sumner County in early September, the Sedgwick County Emergency Operation Center was activated providing real time tracking of all the needs throughout the area. Combined with the major flooding in these same areas on August 19th and 20th these events resulted in overpowering our current stormwater drainage systems and created an incredible amount of flooding in the area. The storms greatly affected the City of Mulvane and Derby and caused damage to some businesses and houses. It is a credit to our great first responders throughout Sedgwick County and other counties that no lives were lost and many people were rescued.
While touring the damaged areas with Sedgwick County Emergency Management, the rain and flood damage was very significant and heartbreaking. As chairman, I signed a proclamation declaring a state of local emergency for the area after both flooding events and it was also signed by Governor Brownback. By declaring these disasters, affected residents may be eligible for loans to assist in the recovery.
While in the State Legislature, Senator Mike Petersen and I worked together to pass a law which made it possible for citizens to receive property tax abatement in the event that their home was significantly damaged by a natural disaster or when a state of emergency is declared. Contact the Sedgwick County Clerk’s Office for more information.
Additionally, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has assistance available to help residents and small businesses affected by these events. Information on all these potential resources can be found on our website (www.sedgwickcounty.org) or by calling 316-660-9223
As Kansans, we know it’s important to be prepared in the event of severe weather. Sometimes however, extreme weather overpowers our preparedness efforts. In light of our recent weather, we have reconvened the Sedgwick County Stormwater Management Advisory Board to help us understand the county’s stormwater needs. Their insight will be very beneficial as we move forward with projects to mitigate future stormwater damage in our communities.
As we navigate through this process, I believe it is vital that we advocate for breaking down stormwater problems into attainable steps to provide long term solutions. I look forward to many discussions of how we can accomplish this goal.