FEMA money slow to arrive

Published 11:59 pm Friday, July 24, 2009

Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) money is still slowly trickling in for damages sustained during March and April’s rain storms, but county engineer Darren Capps said he expects that to pick up soon. However, it’s not expected to be soon enough to implement the county’s move to the unit system before the end of the fiscal year, he said.

More than 30 local roadways and numerous bridges throughout the county were affected by the more-than-10-day period of heavy rains and wind, causing an estimated $3.9 million in damages.

Officials said the county could recover as much as 85 percent of the estimated damages after President Barack Obama declared a federal disaster emergency for 20 Alabama counties, including Covington, in May.

Capps said there are four FEMA representatives working on “project worksheets” throughout the county, which detail the scope of work needed to repair the damages as well as the associated costs.

Capps said the county has received another “small” check from FEMA and he expects the first “big” check to arrive next week.

“We’ve been told there’s one for $100,000 that’s on its way,” he said. “With that, people can expect to see things start hopping as far as repairs.

“We didn’t have any money to do much work, so we’ve been waiting on FEMA,” he said. “When we get that, we’re really going to start working on repairing all these damages instead just making do to get by.”