What comes next when counties are declared federal disasters?

(Source: The Loop)
(Source: The Loop)

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

PARAGOULD , AR (KAIT) - Floodwaters have taken a toll on people and the counties they live in. Now that many counties are declared federal disaster areas, how soon can we start seeing them return to normal?

"We have lost at least 2 inches of material for the roads that were flooded," said Greene County Judge, Jerry Shipman.

Shipman says over half of Greene County roads were damaged in some way by floodwaters.

"This is by far the worst flooding that I've experienced in Greene County," said Shipman.

Shipman says repairing the roads is a costly concern.

"If we would be successful in getting our assessments right, we would have 7 million dollars worth of damage," said Shipman.

Because Greene County is declared a federal disaster, a large chunk of those funds will come from the federal level.

"It will cost the county 12 1/2 percent, and the federal government and state pays the other 87 1/2 percent," said Shipman.

Assessments are a top priority for Shipman right now--seeing where the road needs are, what it will take to fix them, and how much.

"That's what we're giving a lot of effort to is getting it assessed properly so we can receive the proper funds to restore our roads back to pre-flood," said Shipman.

Judge Shipman says at this point, the county has gotten no reimbursement funds, but hopes that will soon change.

"I expect to have some reimbursement money within three weeks," said Shipman.

He expects some advance money from FEMA to help cash flow for ongoing roadwork in the county.

"It gives us a little more confidence to go do the quality and the amount of materials that you would put on the road," said Shipman.

As far as total road repair costs, because a federal disaster has been declared in Greene County,  Shipman says the county will pay 12 and a half percent.  ADEM pays 12 and a half percent, and FEMA will pay 75 percent.

For people who have property damage, Shipman advises you to go online to www.fema.gov.  He adds they will likely have a place set up at a later time to help people get their questions answered about getting help.

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