Havre Daily News: Officials tell Tester flood costs could rise

A group of officials meeting in Chinook told U. S. Sen. Jon Tester Tuesday that flood damages could mount over time, leaving cash-strapped local governments with little recourse while not giving them the one-time expenses for government aid.

Hill and Blaine counties officials told Tester that, so far, they have been able to deal with the flooding. However, especially if a fast melt increases the flooding, the costs over time could be more than they can bear.

“If you think about emergencies, you think about one-time events, ” Blaine County Commissioner Vic Miller told Tester. “What we’re facing, both counties, is a cumulative effect that could lead to disaster.”

The meeting came during a busy visit to the Hi-Line for Tester, including spending time at Rock Boy’s Indian Reservation tomorrow, the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation Tuesday and a morning meeting about the U. S. Canadian border in Havre Tuesday morning.

This year flooding has been a major concern, with high water levels in the deep snow in the northern parts of Hill and Blaine counties. Coupled with the high level of moisture in the soil, giving little buffer to absorb runoff, the counties have been bracing for potentially severe conditions.

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