Carroll one of 13 counties pegged for disaster relief

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Federal disaster funds have been authorized for 13 Arkansas counties, including Carroll County, to help with damage recovery from recent floods that struck the northern and central parts of the state.

Under the disaster fund authorization, Carroll County will be eligible to receive 75 percent of the approved costs for restoration of its roads, bridges and low-water crossings that were damaged after nearly a foot of rain fell in some areas.

The disaster aid was announced on Friday, by the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said President Bush authorized the aid under a major disaster declaration that was issued following a review of FEMA's analysis and the state's request for federal assistance.

The declaration covers damage to public property from severe storms, flooding and landslides that began on April 19.

Immediately after the President's action, Brown designated 13 counties eligible for federal funding to pay state and affected local governments 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and the restoration of damaged public facilities.

In Carroll County, damage to county roads, bridges and low- water crossings was estimated at $300,000 by FEMA and state officials who toured the county on April 30.

County Judge Mike Botelho said repairs have been under way ever since and will continue.

"We're being real careful to keep a record of expenditures for reimbursement later on," he said.

Botelho said he'll await further instructions from FEMA officials as to how to proceed.

"From what I understand, FEMA will move an office into the area and tell us what to do," he said. "We'll do whatever it takes."

Carlos Mitchell of FEMA will be coordinating the federal relief effort. He said that procedures for requesting assistance will be explained at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected area.

Other counties approved for disaster funds include: Baxter, Boone, Franklin, Jackson, Johnson, Madison, Marion, Newton, Searcy, Stone, Washington and Woodruff.

According to federal officials, funds will also be available to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.

These additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

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