Manhattan holds meeting to assess flood damage


Manhattan holds meeting to assess flood damage

MANHATTAN, Mont. - The town of Manhattan came together for a meeting Monday evening on the recent flooding that submerged half of downtown, causing damage to businesses.

City leaders and emergency officials learned who saw what kind of damage and told them what the next steps were in getting help.

Manhattan resident Tom Petrick is just one of many business owners who attended Monday night, wanting to know what kind of state financial aid they could get for damage caused by the recent flooding in Manhattan.

Petrick said, "I've heard rumors of that. But that's all I've heard so far. That's why we're here. Hopefully we'll hear some of that tonight."

Patrick Lonergan with Gallatin County Emergency Management answered, mentioning the U.S. Small Business Administration. Lonergan told businesses and residents that if Manhattan meets a threshold of 25 businesses affected, the administration will come in and do a damage assessment. After that, business owners might be eligible for several programs such as low-interest loans for physical damage and business interruption loans.

Relief for private homeowners was also brought up, but Lonergan says that can be tricky, as relief is usually only available in the case of complete catastrophic damage.

He explained, "If you're rebuilding it, if it's being remodeled and not being torn down and rebuilt from scratch, it's probably not considered destroyed."

Gallatin County  is urging Manhattan residents to complete their estimates of the damage caused by the floods.

"Get us your information for the damage assessment process," said Lonergan. "We'll use that to try and justify and demonstrate exactly what residents and businesses experienced here in Gallatin County."

Another hot button issue brought up at the meeting was whether the city did a good job alerting local business owners to the flooding. Some said they didn't know what was happening until several hours after flooding began.

Manhattan Mayor Dave Rowell defended the decisions they made last Thursday night but did suggest maybe it was time they hire a full-time Manhattan city manager.

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