Hopkins County Commissioners and FEMA are nearing completion of evaluation of spring storm and flood damage to of county road. Disaster inspections based on spring 2015 damage is nearing completion. When completed, commissioners and FEMA will quickly begin evaluation of damage from storms, tornados, and floods that occurred in December of 2015. FEMA will provide 75% of the final dollar total of damage with the county providing 25%. The county’s responsibility can be met through county labor and use of machinery.
Beth Wisenbaker, Commissioner Precinct 1, said that depending on weather and other factors January 29th should be the end date for the evaluations of spring damage. Although upper level review of the final assessment will follow, it is expected the January agreement will be accepted in the final decision by FEMA. Commissioners and FEMA representatives will meet to determine a final dollar figure in the next couple of weeks. With all precincts in the county affected, each commissioner had applied for their own specific amount depending on need. Wisenbaker said Precinct 1 would be applying for FEMA assistance at an amount around one million dollars. She said that some of the funds received from FEMA would reimburse the county commissioners’ budget for work already performed. The remainder would be used to fund the remaining projects.
Next the county commissioners will begin working with FEMA on damage that occurred during the December 26th rains. Some of the roadways destroyed by the spring rains had been repaired but were wiped out again by the December disaster. Wisenbaker said the county has already met the FEMA local funding threshold. Wisenbaker said the county has easily met the disaster threshold of $125,000 in damage and is sure the state will reach the $35-million minimum due to the statewide effect of storms, tornados, and blizzard. Agri-business received the greatest damage from the storm named by some, “Goliath”.
FEMA representatives that have been working with the county have been based in Texarkana. However, Wisenbaker said FEMA is considering establishing a base in Sulphur Springs as they continue working disaster relief locally.