(HELENA) Lewis and Clark County leaders say the federal government has agreed to expand a grant for flood mitigation projects in the Helena Valley.
County engineer Dan Karlin said they received confirmation by phone that the Federal Emergency Management Agency would provide about $1 million in additional funding, although they hadn’t gotten the official paperwork as of Friday.
The county previously received a FEMA grant to work on redirecting storm water into the gravel pit at the Helena Trap Club. But Karlin said, as part of that project, they commissioned a hydrological study that showed the planned work wouldn’t be enough to meet their flood mitigation goals.
The additional money will be used to replace culverts and regrade ditches along Sierra Road. That work will cost a total of about $1.4 million. The county will provide $350,000 – one quarter of the cost – through a local match.
The matching funds will come from a $100 assessment on properties in the Helena Valley Flood Mitigation Rural Improvement District. County commissioners created the district last year, as a way to provide funding for flood mitigation projects in the Valley. The assessment will raise almost $160,000 each year.
Money from the rural improvement district is used only for future mitigation work, not for addressing active flooding.
Karlin said work on the added project could begin as soon as this fall. County leaders hope to finish the improvements by next spring.