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County receives $3.7M from FEMA

More than $3.7 million in FEMA funds were hand-delivered to Covington County Tuesday – the largest single amount ever received at one time for disaster assistance.

County Engineer Darren Capps said the monies from the Federal Emergency Management Agency have been designated to make repairs caused to county roads during the December 2009 flood.

The funds are about half of the $6.1 million in damages caused to more than 60 local roadways and numerous bridges.

“Most of this money is for the December flood,” Capps said of the $3.7 million. “There are some March large projects included, but just a few. Out of that money, we’ve spent $1 million already.

“Believe it or not, there were about 200 bogs or sink holes that had to be fixed,” Capps said. “Of that $3.7 million, about $600,000 to $700,000 was spent fixing those bog holes.”

Capps said the remaining funds will be used to put rock on dirt roads, to do road grading and to perform other methods of road repair.

“This will help things move along now,” said Chairman Lynn Sasser of the FEMA funds.

Earlier this year, FEMA was given an additional $5.1 million in funds after it was announced the agency was running out of money after responding to a host of natural disasters.

The county, like others across the nation, has been waiting for funds to begin repair work.

Chris Newton, public assistance officer with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, delivered the stack of checks just after the day’s commission meeting.

“It’s $3.748 million dollars, so we wanted to hand-deliver it, and not drop it in the mailbox,” Newton said.

Capps said previously that the county can operate for three years on the funding and that work on the major projects will begin in the coming days.

In other business, the commission approved the Woodham family cemetery, located off County Road 45. Commissioner Harold Elmore said the family has received approval for the cemetery from the county health department.

The next commission meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Mon., Oct. 25.

Waters at Yellow River bridge are shown at flood stage during last year’s floods. | File photo