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FEMA and SEMA Assess Knox County’s Roads And Bridges
By Echo Menges
Two representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), John Wittington and Ron Jordan, and a representative from the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Steve Cheavens, met with Knox County Commissioners, Pete Mayfield, Terry Marble, and Terry Callahan, the Knox County Emergency Management Director, Jim Robertson, and the Knox County Road Supervisor, Larry Barnes, Tuesday, July 27, 2010 to assess damage to Knox County’s roads and bridges caused by recent rain and flooding.
Federal and State teams are sweeping through every county in the state assessing damage caused by this year’s severe weather.
The meeting took place in Commissioners’ office at the Knox County courthouse where they discussed the damage and was followed by a tour so the FEMA and SEMA representatives could some of the damage first hand.
“They wanted to see some of the worst.” Said Jim Robertson. “There’s damage all over the county. They went to the northeast part of the county. They looked at four or five projects and said that was good enough for their assessment.”
According to Robertson the FEMA and SEMA representatives made an initial estimate in excess of $250,000 in damage for Knox County.
“That means right now we have met our threshold to meet the requirement to be declared a disaster area.” Said Robertson.
Now that the assessment on Knox County’s roads and bridges has been made the representatives who did the assessment will file their findings with the federal office in Kansas City who will send it to the Governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon. Once the Governor has the assessment report he can sign it and send it on to Washington, D.C. for President Obama’s approval.
“Once we get the Presidential Declaration, FEMA and the state will send in a project team and they will look at the projects for the whole county, write up what needs to be done and what has been done. Once all that takes place and the paperwork’s filed FEMA will make their payments to the county.” Said Robertson adding, “It could take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to reach the President’s desk and go into effect.”
Without help from the federal and state government the cost of repairing Knox County’s roads and bridges, already estimated to cost upward of a quarter of a million dollars, will fall on the county which means the taxpayers would have to foot the entire bill.