Julia cash

Published 11:44 am Monday, August 21, 2017

WINDSOR – While the local news has been busy reporting the state and federal assistance that rolled in to help the town of Windsor recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew, there remained a void to fill in the town’s coffers that was expended when the floodwaters rose after Tropical Storm Julia.

Those two weather systems, which arrived over a course of two weeks in September-October of last year, were responsible for severe flooding in Windsor.

Now, on the heels of several rounds of financial assistance from the state and federal levels to help Windsor recover from Hurricane Matthew, town officials learned earlier this week that Governor Roy Cooper issued a state disaster declaration, one which offers funding associated with damage caused by Tropical Storm Julia.

The declaration makes state funds available to help cover the costs of removing debris, providing emergency protective services, and repairing local roads and bridges.

“Bertie County was still recovering from Tropical Storm Julia when Hurricane Matthew came through,” Governor Cooper said on Wednesday. “The people of Windsor have endured a tremendous amount of hardship and they need our help recovering.”

The town was still cleaning up and assessing damages from Tropical Storm Julia when the second storm hit, making it difficult to assess and attribute the damages to a particular event. State and local officials have been working closely together since last fall to capture all of the storm-related costs to determine if the city would meet the threshold to qualify for state assistance. Final costs were submitted to the governor earlier this month.

Windsor Town Administrator Alan Castelloe told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald on Friday that nearly $89,000 was spent by the town to respond to the storm, clear debris, and repair roads and bridges.

“Thanks to the Governor issuing the disaster declaration, we’ll be able to recoup 75 percent of the money we expended up front to provide the necessary response to the flooding issues here in town associated with Tropical Storm Julia,” Castelloe said.

The 75 percent funding means Windsor can recoup roughly $67,000.

“While this may seem like a small dollar amount when you compare it with the aid that came in after Hurricane Matthew, it is very important to us, as a small town with a small budget, to recoup every dollar that we’re eligible for,” Castelloe stressed. “We are extremely appreciative of the response and aid we received from the state and from FEMA.”

Castelloe added that the town had begun the process of putting their damage numbers together from Julia in late September of last year when Windsor and Bertie County experienced another round of severe flooding from Matthew in early October.

“We were working hard on that as Julia had caused damage to approximately 60 homes and businesses here in town and then Matthew hit,” he recalled. “That put the paperwork from Julia on hold as we dealt with even more severe flooding from Matthew.”

After combining with a coastal low pressure system, the remnants of Tropical Storm Julia blew across northeastern North Carolina on Sept. 21-22, 2016, dumping 10 to 17 inches of rain and causing major flooding that prompted road closures, motor vehicle crashes, and school closings in 11 counties.

The Cashie River in Windsor crested at 15 feet, two feet above flood stage. Damage in the town and the county exceeded $5 million. However, the level of damage did not meet the threshold for financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

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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