LATEST: Rhinelander Sewage Investigation - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

LATEST: Rhinelander Sewage Investigation

LATEST: Rhinelander Sewage Investigation


by Elizabeth Fay

RHINELANDER (WAOW)-- City of Rhinelander Council Members decide to apply for the Community Development Block Grant Emergency Assistance Program. The federal grant could bring up to half a million dollars to homeowners with damage from June's flooding and sewage back-up.

"I would guess that even if we get the full $500,000, there's not going to be enough to go around so we are going to need to prioritize," says City of Rhinelander City Clerk Treasurer, Mary Richardson.

Low income households take priority. City leaders say the money would likely go towards furnace, water heater and structure replacement.

"The problem is that the money the city is applying for is only going to cover a very small portion of the damage that has occurred," says Eric Ehmann whose basement flooded.

As of now, personal property and clean up costs remain at the homeowner's expense. It's news that doesn't settle well with people affected.

"I'm not going to be on the hook for an $8,000 clean up bill and then be sued for that because I know I can't pay it," says Todd Buckpitt of Rhinelander.

Meanwhile, an investigation is underway to find out who's liable for the flooding and sewer back ups: The City of Rhinelander or A-1 Excavating, the contractor in charge of the Phillip Street Sewer Reconstruction.

"It sounds like the city wants to point the finger at A-1 [Excavating] and their insurance company, but what they are not doing is talking about how they might have been liable in some way," says Ehmann.

When Newsline Nine asked about responsibility, city leaders remained tight-lipped.

"I really can't talk about that," says Richardson.

They say they'll speak out after Indian Insurance completes the investigation.

Online Reporter: Elizabeth Fay

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