Wednesday, March 5, 1997
Safety forces
overtime overflows

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Police and fire departments in the flooded areas of Northern Kentucky have not hesitated to respond during the ongoing emergency. But officials said Tuesday say they dread paying the bill for the round-the-clock services.

Many departments across the commonwealth have been on overtime since the flooding worsened Sunday. For example:

The Kenton County Police Department had racked up about 50 hours' worth of overtime as of late Monday.

Officers for the Dixie Police Authority, which covers flooded Bromley, were put on 12-hour shifts with no days off.

''It's gonna be a big bill,'' said Dixie Lt. Mike Ward.

Most officials, such as Falmouth Police Chief Greg Reese, said they could not even begin to estimate how big.

Newport City Manager Jim Parsons said he couldn't estimate the flood's impact on Newport's budget, but predicted it will have ''a major impact,'' mostly because of overtime.

All the help local departments can hope for is from the federal government, Lt. Ward said. If the area is declared a disaster area, some money could be available.

The department, with a total budget of about $600,000, has been reimbursed before for weather emergencies. ''That's our only relief,'' Lt. Ward said.

One of the first acts for Ed Pendery, Campbell County deputy judge-executive, was to put every county employee on alert to help with any flood-related emergency or relief efforts.

''There's no way to even begin,'' he said. ''It's going to be an incredible number.''

In southern Campbell County at Campbell County's mobile command post on the outskirts of Silver Grove, flood relief costs weren't expected to soar because much of the help was from volunteers.

''Right now, we're all volunteers helping out,'' said Randy Steinhauer, assistant chief of the Silver Grove Volunteer Fire Department. ''All of the Campbell County fire departments and too many individual volunteers to name are helping out.''

The city of Ludlow also is better off than some. Chief Tom Collins has not kept officers on overtime - yet. He's saving the money because he thinks the flooding may worsen after rains predicted late this week.