Bertie County slated to receive $6 million for flood victims

Published 6:42 pm Friday, June 30, 2017

WINDSOR – Wednesday evening (June 28), NC Emergency Management (NCEM) released its HMGP (hazard mitigation grant program) allocations and for Bertie County and the Town of Windsor the amount is $6,000,000.

County and Town of Windsor leaders are saying that, unofficially, this is the second highest dollar amount in the state, and they are trying to confirm that information).

In the areas of the state impacted by the hurricane, NCEM reviewed 3,000 structures from the Hurricane Matthew disaster zone, of which less than 800 qualified for the program.

The “Windsor/Bertie HMGP Allocation” is identified with 55 properties, of which 30 locations are outside the town limits. This initial allocation will assist property owners in flood-prone areas, and have suffered repetitive flood damage to receive money for a “buyout” (demolition and acquisition) or elevation of the structure as required by flood plain regulations as recently updated.

Based on the action by both governing bodies at a joint meeting of the Town and County leaders on June 12, each property will be evaluated and ranked by the criteria and methodology presented by Holland Consulting Planners, and adopted by joint resolution.

The State is seeking a list of the remaining properties (approximately 20 locations) to be submitted for consideration as “unmet needs” with the availability of funds in the new state budget.

Once the priority list is submitted to the State, there is a 90 to 120-day review period for FEMA before the funds are released.

The combined application submitted by the County and the Town covers 102 properties and the total requested was $11 million. Given the united efforts of both Boards, the initial HMPG allocation of $6 million should be considered locally, as a collective “first bite at the apple.” Staff will continue to closely review the criteria and priority ratings presented by Holland Consulting Planners to determine if the number of properties can be increased beyond the 30 properties for this initial allocation.

With the Governor’s recent announcement regarding the State budget and the availability of an additional $100 million for Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts, both the Town of Windsor and Bertie County will exhaust every avenue for seeking funds for all eligible properties in our community.

Bertie Emergency Services Director Mitch Cooper has posed an interesting suggestion regarding a possible cost savings as the county moves forward with the “buyout” properties. Assuming that these structures will be torn down (demolition costs) and the debris taking to the landfill (transportation and tipping fees), presumably these expenses are included in the cost estimates for the “buyout” allocation for each property.

Cooper is interested in assisting with the coordination of control burning for these structures as fire department training exercises. Under this strategy, demolition costs would be minimized and the tipping fees for the landfill would be significantly reduced. And of course, the savings will help the Town and County extend their allocation to serve more residents.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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