Butterfield aids Murfreesboro effort

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 12, 2008

MURFREESBORO – United States Congressman G.K. Butterfield is lending a helping hand to the Town of Murfreesboro.

Recently, Butterfield issued a letter each to the regional and national office of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in support of Murfreesboro receiving a reimbursement from the entity for repair of the Holly Hill Road Dam.

Butterfield directed his letters (dated March 5) to both FEMA Assistant Administrator Disaster Assistance Directorate Carlos H. Castillo in Washington D.C. and Assistance Section Manager Joann Jenkins Hash in Raleigh.

Butterfield writes: “I have learned that the town has submitted a second appeal to its pending case in which consideration is being requested for $199,718.45 of a $202,615.54 bill.”

The Congressman continued in his letter by rehashing the topic, which stems from 2003 when Hurricane Isabel struck the region, toppling trees and ultimately damaging the Holly Hill Road Dam. Three trees left craters in the road and damage to the asphalt curbing, which left the dam vulnerable to water leakage, dropping the level in the lake two feet in five days.

According to an appeal drawn up by Poyner & Spruill, a representative from FEMA, Carol Gerrald, assessed the site the same year.

Gerrald said because she was not familiar with North Carolina’s Dam Safety requirements, the town should hire a specialist to determine whether or not the damage was caused by Hurricane Isabel.

A FEMA reimbursement of $2,897 was issued to the town, leaving $199,718 yet to be settled.

Despite the town showing documentation from NC Dam Safety inspections and hiring Jewell Engineering Consultants for assessing whether or not the damage was from Hurricane Isabel, FEMA has denied the reimbursement

A second appeal was filed by the town in January after the initial appeal was denied in December.

In his letter Butterfield writes, “I strongly believe that it is FEMA’s responsibility to cover the costs associated with the inspection and repair of the dam. Records show that the town of Murfreesboro complied with FEMA’s public assistance requirements and state and federal regulations governing dam safety.”

He also goes on to note “proven inaccuracies contained in FEMA’s Regional Administrator’s positions for denial of reimbursement.”

Butterfield related the inaccuracies to the removal of trees and proper remediation of stump holes, the replacement of the bottom drain and repair to the road after heavy construction on the dam.

He concludes, “I provide my unequivocal support to the town of Murfreesboro in its efforts to be awarded the remaining costs associated with the damages of Holly Hill Dam.”