Carter County to receive federal disaster funds

By Kathy Helms-Hughes

STAR STAFF
khelms@starhq.com

   Carter County will receive $150,000 in federal disaster funds to cover damage to public property as a result of winter storms and flooding that struck the state last month. Carter is among 26 counties across the state eligible to receive disaster aid.
   Jim Burrough, director of Elizabethton/Carter County Emergency Management Agency, said he received word during a meeting Wednesday morning that the county could receive $150,000 in federal aid. "It is for public assistance only, not for individual assistance like driveways," he said. The exact amount will be determined following review by FEMA.
   Carter County had minimal damage, according to Burrough. "It figured out to about $150,000, which includes the Minton Hollow mudslide," where heavy rains washed out a portion of the roadway near the Elizabethton/Carter County Landfill, causing an estimated $80,000 in damage.
   "The highway department will get the bulk of it," Burrough said of the federal aid. The money will be used to reimburse costs associated not only with Minton Hollow, but for replacement of tiles which washed out during the storms, and costs incurred for debris and brush removal.
   Burrough said FEMA's Frank Jandus also will work toward getting funds for Milligan College, which lost its maintenance building Feb. 22 after heavy rains caused the red two-story metal building to collapse when the ground beneath it gave way.
   "FEMA says they could possibly help with the insurance deductible. Milligan had approximately a $250,000 deductible on a $500,000 building," Burrough said.
   FEMA's Jandus came to Carter County immediately after the storms upon Burrough's request "and did what we call a 'windshield survey.' We spent all day out driving around looking at the damage," Burrough said.
   "He's going to come back Friday and either me or the highway department will take him and go over this again and he will see what they've done since he was here before.
   Burrough said the county has already repaired a lot of the damage and Jandus will confirm that work was performed properly.
   "He'll look at Minton Hollow and make sure that our figures fit into the equation of the amount that we had asked for," Burrough said.
   Jandus also will review requests from Johnson County and Mountain City. Johnson County, which had several bridges wash out during the storms, has requested approximately $90,000, while Mountain City turned in a request for $800,000, according to Burrough.
   President Bush authorized the use of federal funds March 20 to help communities recover from the effects of severe winter storms that occurred Feb. 14-26. The president took the action following a review of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's analysis of Tennessee's request for federal relief.
   FEMA will use the federal funds to pay affected local governments 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and the repair or replacement of damaged public facilities.
   In addition to Carter, counties eligible to receive funding include: Anderson, Bledsoe, Campbell, Cannon, Claiborne, Cumberland, Decatur, Fentress, Grainger, Hancock, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Johnson, Lewis, Loudon, Marion, Meigs, Rhea, Roane, Scott, Sequatchie, Stewart, Union and Van Buren.
   The president's declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. More counties and additional forms of aid may be designated later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments, according to FEMA.