City council approves flood recovery funds; seeks state, federal assistance

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by SARAH THOMACK

St. Joseph Post

The St. Joseph City Council approved another emergency ordinance to help the Southside as clean up and recovery efforts from flooding last month continue.

St. Joseph Mayor Bill McMurray says the first emergency ordinance was for $22,000 for dumpsters.

“We had about 33 dumpsters and we quickly went through the 22,000,” McMurray tells host Barry Birr on the KFEQ Hotline. “Tons and tons of stuff taken out to the landfill.”

McMurray says they approved another $30,000 this week, which is being taken out of the Cell Phone Fund.

Photo taken on July 28, 2020, of clean up operations underway by the City in south St. Joseph. Photo by Brent Martin.

Reports in the past few weeks from the Red Cross have said over 200 homes were impacted by the flooding, with about 130 of those seriously damaged and one completely destroyed. 

“The Baptist Disaster Relief and Team Rubicon and others are mucking out the houses, pulling the stuff out of the basement, putting it in the dumpsters, yanking out the drywall. Then it’s all going to have to be put back, redone,” McMurray says. “We’re going to have a long recovery period from this.”

McMurray says he’s sent a letter to Governor Mike Parson, talked to Senator Roy Blunt’s office and most of the local legislators to see if there’s any opportunity for federal or state funds to help with recovery. 

“Everybody’s trying to help as much as they can, but this just galls me that we’re not big enough, apparently, for this to be a federal disaster or a state disaster, so that cuts off the funding,” McMurray says. “It’s pretty big if it’s your house that’s flooded, but apparently in total, collectively, it’s not considered big enough.”

McMurray says help is coming from local sources and there’s been several volunteer teams helping with various recovery efforts.

“There are volunteers coming in from other places, I’ve talked to some college kids who were just helping out. Not only our local volunteers, not only our city employees and county employees, but also all these other volunteers are coming in, this is a group effort,” McMurray says. “Unfortunately, we’re not getting any help to speak of from state or fed, so this is going to be a local effort and I think we’re up to it. So far indications are very good that we’re going to get through this together.”

For information on resources for flooding victims or volunteer opportunities, call the United Way of Greater St. Joseph at (816) 364-2381 visit stjosephunitedway.org or find them on Facebook or Twitter.