Pratt County is filing a disaster proclamation because of flood damage in the county following heavy rains in early May. This is the third time in nine months that a disaster proclamation has been filed because of flood damage, said Tim Branscom, county Emergency Manager at the May 13 County Commission meeting.
Branscom said he was pretty sure the county would meet the $33,000 in damage threshold to be eligible for federal assistance. If they qualify for assistance, those funds will probably not be available until late in 2019.
Pratt County Sheriff Jimmy White said there was damage to many roads south of U.S. 54 in Pratt County. While most of the area received around four inches of rain over a two day period, there were some isolated spots with more rain including 8.5 inches near Cairo and 10 inches in the Coats and Isabel areas.
White said a portion the shooting range was also damaged during this last bout of flooding.
Branscom said Pratt County was able to help Kingman County during the flood by storing water in the Pratt County Veterans Memorial Lake.
The recent flooding has slowed the draining efforts at the Pratt County Veterans Memorial Lake. The inlet and outlet valves at the lake suffered damage from a flood on Labor Day in 2018. The lake has been draining for several weeks to get the water level low enough to make repairs but the rains in the week of May 5-11 added more water to the lake and it has taken several days to get the water back to where it needs to be.
Doug Freund, county road and bridge supervisor said work on the outlet area should start on May 14.
White reported that Shawn Harding of HMN Architects will inspect the Law Enforcement Center in late May to determine what needs to be repaired to take care of the water leakage problems in the building. There are several areas of concern in the building and the leakage needs to be addressed.
A new drone and robot will soon be added to the sheriff’s office list of available tools. Through negotiation, White was able to purchase both a drone and a robot for a total of $22,000, a substantial savings from the original prices. White said the company he worked with basically bought the drone for the department.
The Independence Day fireworks display at the Pratt County Veterans Memorial Lake has been pushed back to Saturday, July 6. George Stevens, representing the American Legion Riders, said the reason for the move is more people will attend the display if it occurs on a day when people don’t have to go to work the next day.
Stevens requested and received a $3,000 donation from the county towards the purchase of fireworks for the display that is put on by the American Legion Riders. This request comes earlier than in the past because a discount is available the earlier the fireworks are purchased, Stevens said.
The emergency generator at the Pratt County Health Department is kicking on and off again when it shouldn’t. Darci VanDerVyver, director of Public Health, said the unit is only supposed to run once a week on Tuesdays for a load test. The unit had previously had the same problem and work was done to fix the problem but it needs to be fixed again.
Branscom informed commissioners that a new 350 foot cell tower is in the works and would be installed in the northwest corner of the county near Hopewell.