Washington state

Engineers short of cash

MOUNT VERNON - The Army Corps of Engineers does not have the money to help pay for repairs to levees in several districts in Western Washington and Montana.

The corps sent letters to 11 counties and dike districts, as well as a county in Montana, informing them of the money shortage.

"It's hopefully not a permanent situation," said Doug Weber, natural disaster manager for the corps' Seattle district.

There's little money available until Congress approves a budget for the fiscal year that began in October.

"That means the corps is held to the same funding levels as 2006," corps spokeswoman Nola Leyde said, noting that much of its designated money was spent on repairs following the November floods.

Letters were sent to districts in Skagit, Whatcom, Snohomish, King and Pierce counties, as well as Renton and Lincoln County, Mont.

The corps' contribution to dike maintenance and repair is significant, said Chuck Bennett, a commission for dike district 12 in Skagit County.

"It's a nightmare if you've got to take care of it on your own," he said.