Governor Laura Kelly sent a request this month to President Donald Trump to ask for a presidential declaration for public assistance for 63 counties in Kansas following recent months of record rainfall and severe weather causing flooding, flash flooding and tornadoes beginning April 28, according to a press release from the governor.
Bourbon County was one of the counties listed in the request.
“The county declared on the 23 of May,” Will Wallis, Bourbon County’s Emergency Management Director said. “It was orchestrated by the commission with their signatures and mine. It will help the county as far as reimbursement funds to public roads and bridges.”
The federal public assistance program helps pay for the restoration of public infrastructure and associated costs caused by flooding and tornado damage, according to the press release.
“It will pay us back for qualified roads, bridges, culverts, low water crossings and bridges but only if each one of them qualifies,” Wallis said.
“The (federal) government pays back 75% the state (government)10%,” he said. “This is a bare minimum. If we can get mitigation funds involved, it could be more.”
” We start preliminary damage assessments tomorrow (June 14) that will determine if we have met our county threshold which is $57, 000 dollars,” Wallis said. “We are very sure we will meet the threshold without any problems.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s damage assessment includes the following types of damage: debris needing removed, the number of roads closed, the number of bridges unusable, the number of miles of roads damaged and public building, vehicles and equipment damaged, among others.
In addition, damage to recreation areas are assessed as follows: debris removal, damage to parks and facilities at parks.
An impact statement is included in the assessment: for essential services affected (EMS, law enforcement, fire departments), farmers unable to get in their fields, health and safety issues such as hazardous materials, contaminated water supply, etc.
For the full assessment document click below:
William Wallis, the Bourbon County Emergency Manager, KCEM, can be reached at
or in person at 210 South National, Fort Scott, Kansas 66701
or by phone: Office # 620-223-3800 ext. 124 or Cell # 620-224-8165