Alexander Co. officials ask what's next after Corps denies funding for levee repairs

Alexander Co. leaders taking levee repairs to Congress after Corps denies aid
(Source: County Commissioner Chalen Tatum)
(Source: County Commissioner Chalen Tatum)

ALEXANDER COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - With no federal assistance to rebuild a levee destroyed in a flood in 2015, Alexander County officials are wondering what's next.

In the letter to the Len Small Levee District, the Corps of Engineers denied assistance for levee repairs.

A request for flood rehabilitation assistance from the December 2015 flood event was submitted.

As of July 21, the Army Corps of Engineers stated the benefit-cost ratio for the repairs is not eligible for assistance.

The Corps estimated the repairs at more than $16 million.

That's been a tough pill to swallow for some county officials who say they are doing what they can to protect the area.

"To us, this county is everything because everybody chose to live here, work here, farm here, raise their kids here," said Alexander County Chairman Chalen Tatum. "And now we just need some help with our levee and they're not willing to step forward."

The Army Corps had previously said the Len Small Levee was not an emergency situation.

The New Year Flood destroyed about a half-mile portion it.

When the Len Small Levee walls collapsed earlier in 2016, leaving a three-quarter-mile hole in the levee, it exposed towns like Olive Branch and Miller City to rising water.

County officials say they are writing to members of Congress, as well as enlisting the support of the Illinois Farm Bureau, to try and get the Corps to reconsider.

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