Fleischmanns OKs bond for park repairs
By Jay Braman Jr.
The Fleischmanns Village Board passed a resolution Monday giving itself the authority to borrow up to $1.5 million to pay for repairs to the village park, which was destroyed last year by flooding.
But that doesn’t mean work on the park will begin anytime soon.
After the village board meeting, Mayor Todd Pascarella said that bonding was a necessary step towards getting the park repaired.
“It gets the necessary funds in place to go out to bid,” he said.
Trouble is, no one knows yet how much money can be used, and Pascarella has no way of knowing.
Pascarella placed blame for the delay squarely on the shoulders of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), accusing the agency of “nitpicking” over repair costs.
The way it works, the mayor said, is that FEMA determines the cost of the repair, then the village uses the bond to pay for those repairs. Once the project is complete, FEMA will then reimburse the village for the costs.
But getting FEMA to come up with a dollar figure is proving difficult.
“We knew the park would be the last thing they do,” he said, noting that FEMA prioritizes other damage, like roads and bridges, over something like a park. “But now FEMA is questioning every little thing about the repairs. They want to know if there is anything still there that is usable.”
As far as Pascarella is concerned, FEMA has had all the information needed to come up with a figure for several weeks.
The village is ready to put the work out to bid, but Pascarella fears moving forward before hearing back from FEMA. He worries that the agency will offer a lowball amount; similar to the way some insurance companies do when settling a claim. Pascarella does not want to make Fleischmanns taxpayers responsible for the repairs.
“If they come back with a lowball figure we will appeal it,” he said. “Apparently that happens a lot.”
The mayor is not sure why FEMA is running at a snail’s pace, but he did note that there was a personnel change recently. That, he said, may account for it, as the new official gets up to speed.