Councilman: Brookport doesn’t have money to pay for broken flap gate

The financial future of Brookport, Illinois, may depend on the future of the city’s broken flap gate. Homeowner Lucille Shannon said the city’s struggles are not new.

"We haven’t been able to get the monies we need to fix a lot of the problems we have here in Brookport," Shannon said.

Repair costs are around $200,000. The city does not have the money, which is why sandbags were used earlier this year. Shannon said a temporary Band-Aid isn’t the answer.  "I think what we need to do is actually start acting upon what’s available for us," Shannon said.

City Councilman Tom Souders said the city started facing financial problems after the 2013 tornado. He said the city spent thousands of dollars in repair costs but never got back on solid financial footing. He told Local 6 it was the right time to let the homeowners know of the dire financial truth.

"They needed a reality check. They are nit-picking these little ideas that would be wonderful if we had the kind of money to do that. We don’t have (any money)," Souders said.

The state came through with a $1.8 million grant in 2014, but Souders said it must be used for new roads and sidewalks.

"We had to spend every penny of this grant and turn it back to the state. When we’re done, we’re at zero balance," Souders said.

He said the federal government even approached him about a possible buyout, but that’s something Shannon hopes doesn’t happen.

"We need to exhaust all of our resources. I’m not ready to throw my hands up," Shannon said.

Souders said the buyout would be similar to what’s happening in Olive Branch, but he said the city of Brookport is not interested in taking the buyout.

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