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Local flood recovery delayed by federal shutdown

By Scott Harrison
Published On: Oct 17 2013 07:15:01 PM CDT

El Paso County also to request $10 million in additional relief.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

The shutdown of the federal government likely will delay the completion of flood recovery projects in El Paso County until next spring, a county commissioner said on Thursday.

Commissioner Sallie Clark said the shutdown slowed the process to request and receive federal disaster funding to finish projects before winter weather arrives. 

"The problem with that is the $10 million in initial disaster funds have to be used by the end of January," she said.  "We're going to ask for an exemption and be able to use that money through next spring."

Clark also said the initial funding -- intended to address Waldo Canyon Fire recovery more than recent but related flood damage -- isn't enough to meet the various needs.

"We're probably looking at needing at least another $10 million," she said.  "What's hard is to get that, we have to come up with a local match of 20 percent.  We'll have to seek grants or private donations to help."

Clark said she's concerned that the funding requests don't include addressing needs of the U.S. Forest Service to keep flooding from affecting Ute Pass, Manitou Springs and west Colorado Springs.

A regional recovery group meets Monday, said Clark, to determine exactly how much local money is needed.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may be involved in several projects, she said.

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