Tornadoes cost Dayton millions, will likely affect next year’s budget

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Dayton officials say the city has spent millions of dollars following the Memorial Day tornadoes, and those costs are expected to impact next year’s budget.

The tornadoes hit the same weekend as the KKK-affiliated rally in downtown Dayton on May 25, which cost the city roughly $680,000 for security, according to Diane Shannon, Dayton’s procurement, management and budget director.

The city has funds set aside for unplanned expenses but will need to make up for at least some of those costs, Shannon said.

Much of the curb is clear in Old North Dayton. Neighbors on Valley Street told 2 NEWS crews had the area cleaned up within a few days after the storm.

“It was unbelievable,” said Beverly Smith, whose home was damaged in the tornado. “They were out here the next day… trucks just getting anything and everything.”

But that cleanup comes at a cost.

“It’s a sizable hit to our general fund,” Shannon said. “We do have reserves for matters such as this, but we’re taking a significant hit into our reserves, which causes some concern.”

The Memorial Day tornadoes have cost the city roughly $2 million so far, Shannon said. Those expenses include cleanup of yard and construction debris, emergency response and water utility repairs, she added.

Included in that cost, the city has spent about $750,000 to fix the water system since the tornadoes so far, Shannon said, adding that the city expects the final cost to total more than $1 million.

For all expenses connected to the tornado aftermath, the city expects to spend at least $5.5 million total, Shannon said.

“What we’re doing is diverting resources currently,” she explained.
So our public works crews would usually be picking up up trash and these things – certainly we’re still doing that – but we’re doing a lot of other activities on overtime and even some on regular time.”

The money spent after the tornadoes has not affected any current city projects, Shannon said. The city is also unable to take money away from levies or taxes for other specific purposes, such as roads, she added.

Shannon told 2 NEWS she expects an impact on next year’s budget.

“There certainly will be these kind of conversations as move forward in the budget process that is going to be beginning here for us just in a matter of weeks,” she said.

The city does not anticipate borrowing money or putting any levies on the ballot to generate funding, Shannon said.

The city has applied for FEMA assistance, which could cover up to 75 percent of its tornado-related expenses, Shannon said. It could take a few weeks for FEMA to respond to their request, she added.

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