Lodi looks for alternative funding without FEMA help

LODI (WKOW) — Communities across Wisconsin are looking for other options as they recover from spring flooding after FEMA announced the state didn’t meet the threshold for federal help. Blindsided by their rising water, people in Lodi are hoping outside groups can fill their need.

Even two weeks later, Jon Plumer said he and other business owners in downtown Lodi remain stunned at the damage the ordinarily small, shallow Spring Creek was able to inflict.

“It was an unbelievable amount of water in a short amount of time,” he said. “I’ve never seen it out of the banks before. It’s never been it out of the banks before and we’ve been here 10 years.”

In his karate studio, Plumer Karate America, he said the rising water put about three feet of water in his basement. To keep the water from getting any higher, Plumer said he had to drill a hole in his attic to pump the water out.

“It was the only option. We couldn’t open the door and we didn’t have enough hose to run that high-capacity pump out to the streets,” he said.

Thanks to the pump, Plumer said he was able to clear any equipment from the basement before the water caused too much damage and he was able to keep water out of the first floor.

The business next door wasn’t as fortunate. Plumer said water made its way into their first level. The business still displays a sign saying “Office Closed effective March 14. We will reopen when flooding damage repaired.”

Now that federal help is off the table, Julie Ostrander, Lodi’s director of Administration, said the city is looking for other groups across the state to lend a hand.

“Some people have $50,000 dollars worth of damage,” she said.

On top of that, Ostrander said the city has assessed $106,000 in public damage so far.

“It’s gonna change where we spend our money this year,” she said.

For businesses, Ostrander said the city and county can provide a combined $30,000 in loans. They’re hoping an outside group, Madison Region Economic Partnership can pick up the rest. The group visited on Monday to offer its help.

“We actually went door-to-door taking applications for them,” Ostrander said.

For the city’s public land repairs, Ostrander said they’re hoping the county and state can pitch in with their emergency management funds, otherwise they’ll have to take from the city’s general budget.

The city is also calling on Columbia County and its neighboring townships to look at flood mitigation projects to improve water flow so this doesn’t happen in the future.

Columbia County is encouraging any residents who have not yet reported their flood damages to do so.

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