SANTA CLARA – As city and federal officials in Santa Clara continue to assess the flood damage and affected residents continue to clear out their homes, the estimate on damage to public infrastructure has reached $3.7 million. That estimate only applies to those things maintained by the City – like roads and the broken dike – and not the homes and businesses caught in the path of Tuesday’s flooding.
“We don’t know the cost to the homes,” said Ed Dickie, Santa Clara city manager. “We just know 61, maybe 62, have had damage,” along with 16 businesses.
Dickie said he had been told a majority of the affected businesses and homeowners did not have flood insurance. “It wasn’t required,” he said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency requires that homes with mortgages located in flood plains designated as “high risk” have flood insurance. However, homes located in low to moderate risks flood plains are not required to purchase policies. FEMA oversees the flood insurance via the National Flood Insurance Program.
There is the likelihood that Santa Clara homeowners may not be able to receive federal assistance. Dickie said, as a general rule FEMA requires a threshold of over 40 percent damage to at least 100 homes before it will step in and help private property owners.
“We have homes anywhere from 2 percent to 30 percent damaged,” he said.
Despite the setback with FEMA, the city will continue to meet with state and federal officials on behalf of the homeowners. “We’re pleading (with them),” Dickie said.
For the time being, a relief fund has been set up at State Bank of Southern Utah to aid flood victims.
Santa Clara will be receiving $70,000 from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to help create a series of channels and fill-ponds leading from the vicinity of the failed dike to the Santa Clara River.
“We’re creating a channel to follow the roads,” Dickie said.
The path of the channels will include portions of Arrowhead Trail and Vineyard Drive, two of the areas hit by the flooding. The channel system will be used to divert rain water while the dike is rebuilt.
Volunteer work also continues. Officials with the Red Cross station set up in the Santa Clara city offices said at least 1,800 people volunteered on Wednesday alone. Thursday saw 1,000 volunteers. That number is expected to triple between Friday night and Saturday.
“We’re expecting between 2,000 and 3,000 people,” Dickie said. A “big push” was coming from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Both Dickie and the Red Cross said a multi-congregational force of volunteers from the LDS Church was heading into Santa Clara on Saturday.