December 4, 2008

County Kicks Off 2nd FEMA Disaster Aid Request

While awaiting word whether or not it would be approved for federal and state funding to offset storm damage earlier in the year, Scotland County saw some of those hopes wash away, literally. For the second time in 2008, the county was the site of a natural disaster as declared by the federal government, when remnants of Hurricane Ike saturated Scotland County to record levels forcing wide spread flooding in mid September.

Federal Emergency Management Agency representative Angela Green met with the Scotland County Commission on November 25th to kick off the county’s second emergency disaster aid request. County officials are hoping to receive the funding from the initial aid requests approved earlier this year following summer storms that caused extensive road damage in June and July following an excessively wet spring.

The second aid request is expected to be significantly smaller than the nearly $400,000 requested by Scotland County Emergency Management Director Bryan Whitney following the summer storms. Scotland County road superintendent Ryan Clark indicated only a small portion of the repairs from the summer storms had been completed prior to the second round of natural disasters.

“The way the process works, the county can’t ‘double-dip’ and seek disaster aid for the trouble spots that already existed after the first series of storms but were not repaired before the September floods,” Clark said.

He indicated the county would be seeking disaster aid corresponding with approximately 10 culverts damaged by the flooding as well as reimbursement for overtime labor required by the storm clean-up.

“This second round likely will not be as significant, financially for the county, as the first one was,” said County Clerk Betty Lodewegen.

However any aid will be welcome for the county, which is nearing its budgeted costs for road aggregate, with a number of storm-related repairs outstanding as well as a good percentage of the normally scheduled road work.

Clark indicated that approximately 20-percent of the county’s regularly scheduled annual gravel installation is still not complete at this late date in the year, due in large part to the weather combined with the time allotted for storm repairs.

“We have spent roughly our entire rock budget, and still have a bunch of county roads left that are scheduled to receive gravel, so the FEMA aid could help make that happen,” Lodewegen stated.

A total of $310,000 of the $1.121 million county road and bridge budget is allotted for road rock purchase. As of the middle of November, the county had expended $293,200 of that funding. Clark noted the bulk of the county’s approved disaster aid from the prior storm system will be used to offset the cost of the lost aggregate, with that number expected to exceed $100,000.

FEMA representatives are expected to begin tours of the county this week to review the damage areas. Project worksheets will begin on the damaged areas and photographic documentation made by the county road department will also be used for the aid request.

“While we are working on the latest storm damage, it sure would be nice to receive the initial aid funding,” Clark said. “We are expecting it in the next week or two and it definitely would give the county a ‘shot in the arm’ dealing with the costs to the county caused by the storms.”

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