Emergency flood funds approved for some Lincoln residents

Posted by: Laura Wilson

After months of wondering whether the city would assist with the hundreds of thousands of dollars in flood damage in Lincoln

“The concern we have until we reach some final verdict is that we’re really kind of frozen in place,” Landlord Greg Hacker, whose apartments were damaged, said during a Monday city council meeting.

Homeowners got their answer on Monday.

City council members unanimously approved a 1-million dollar Temporary Sanitary Sewer Disaster Recovery Assistance Program.

It will help cover damages for homeowners, renters, and small business owners impacted by sewage back–up from those extraordinary October and May floods.

“It is proposed just for remediation.  So, the costs of cleaning up and disinfecting the sewage would all be covered and reimbursed under this program,” Lincoln City Attorney Jeff Kirkpatrick explained during Monday’s meeting.

“What it would not cover would be the replacement and rebuilding costs.”

Up to $5,000 will be given out per storm, per household—or unit—to those who qualify for the financial relief.

“$5,000 is a good start for homeowners.  It won’t come close to covering some of my neighbors’ costs, but at least it shows some good faith,” said homeowner Brandon Seifert, whose house was damaged by sewer backup during both major storms.

The city council did not admit liability for the sewer backup by approving the program, but agreed this is a pressing health issue.

“I think we do have a role in being that safety net and coming in and helping people,” said Council Member Carl Eskridge.

More than 200 sanitary sewer back–up claims have already been filed.

Even if you’ve filed a claim, you will have to fill out a separate application for this program.

Money will be awarded on a first–come, first serve basis.

The city has not specified when they will be able to start accepting applications, but they hope it will be sometime next week.

Those 200 claims, which are separate from this program, are still sort of sitting in limbo.

Kirkpatrick has recommended they be denied, but city council hasn’t made a decision one way or the other yet.