County officials may decide today when crews will cease debris removal operations in an area of southern Leavenworth County that was impacted by a recent tornado.

County officials may decide today when crews will cease debris removal operations in an area of southern Leavenworth County that was impacted by a recent tornado.

Public works crews have been picking up debris that residents have pushed into right of ways along roadways.

In addition to Leavenworth County public works employees, the county has received mutual aid from crews from other local governments. The crews have been hauling the debris to a county-owned quarry.

Leavenworth County Emergency Management Director Chuck Magaha and Leavenworth County Public Works Director Mike Spickelmier reviewed the debris removal operation Wednesday with county commissioners.

The discussion took place during an afternoon work session for commissioners.

An EF-4 tornado passed through the Linwood area in southern Leavenworth County on May 28. County officials estimate property damage from the tornado in the county exceeds $26 million.

Commissioner Jeff Culbertson said Wednesday that crews had completed what he referred to as the emergency cleanup of debris.

“Now we’re really cleaning up for aesthetics,” he said.

Culbertson said county officials need to figure out how to get employees of the Leavenworth County Public Works Department to return to other duties including road maintenance.

“We really need to come up with a cutoff point,” Spickelmier said of the debris removal.

He said officials planned to meet today to do an assessment.

Some of the outside crews who have provided mutual aid are now returning to their regular duties in their own municipalities.

Spickelmier said he has informal commitments from other outside government entities indicating they will supply additional crews.

County Administrator Mark Loughry suggested the Leavenworth County government may need to hire a contractor to complete the debris removal effort if the mutual aid from other entities is going away.

Loughry said Leavenworth County public works employees need to work on road maintenance projects.

The county government may receive reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for at least some of the costs associated with the debris removal efforts.

Magaha said he would not expect FEMA funding for at least 16 months.

Loughry said he may ask county commissioners to issue a temporary note later this year to finance projects. He said the temporary note also can be used to cover expenses related to the tornado recovery as county officials await money from FEMA.

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