Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle on Friday proclaimed another victory over the historic Missouri River flooding from 2011.
During a press conference at Lewis & Clark Landing, Suttle announced that all of the levee systems along the river through Omaha have been refurbished and are again in good condition.
The city and the Army Corps of Engineers have completed a final walk-through of the repairs that have taken place during the past year.
The levee repairs spanned a more than 13-mile stretch to the city’s barrier that held back flood waters for nearly three months during summer 2011.
Suttle said the city’s emergency preparedness was able to stop flood waters from flowing into Omaha, preventing billions of dollars of additional damage.
“This was a very successful story here because a lot of people were pulling together and working together,” Suttle said. “Never in my wildest dreams had I ever thought that we would be fighting a flood. ... We had a plan, and we were ready to stay ahead of the rising water.”
Suttle said Omaha’s total costs related to the flood reached about $31.6 million.
But Travelers Insurance, Omaha’s insurance carrier at the time, agreed to pay the city $21.6 million related to the flood damage.
The remaining $10 million in flood-related projects are being reviewed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Suttle said.
If federal disaster relief comes through, Suttle said, Omaha’s unreimbursed costs for flood prevention and damages could total less than $1.6 million for city taxpayers.
One downside from the historic flood is that Omaha’s insurance premiums for property and casualty coverage increased from $500,000 to $2.3 million, Suttle said.
However, the city is seeking bids for new insurance providers in the hopes of reducing its premiums in 2013, the mayor said.
During Friday’s press conference, Suttle offered the city’s condolences to East Coast communities ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. Suttle said he has written to several mayors offering Omaha’s assistance.
Suttle urged local residents to donate to the American Red Cross or Salvation Army to help in the recovery.