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County gets good news about funding assistance

By Staff | May 11, 2009

Preliminary damage assessments by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for flooded and washed out sections of township roads and culverts in Pierce County this spring will run well over a million dollars, the highest damage totals since 1997, according to Duane Veach, county disaster emergency services coordinator.

County officials, however, did receive some good news earlier this month by FEMA.

The federal and state emergency management departments will pick up 97 percent of the costs to make road and culvert repairs or replacements, leaving just three percent for organized townships and the county to pay.

Veach said damages are particularly burdensome on organized townships that often have just a few thousand dollars in road repairs budgeted. Nearly every township has reported minimal damage to roads with the Balta area hardest hit. Several roads there have been blocked off from excessive runoff, causing large holes.

Flood waters have receded, but the damage is still evident, and crews will need to fill holes and added gravel.

FEMA will being completing project worksheets this month to the roads with damage. Eventually, they will be forwarded to FEMA administrators for review before funding will be appropriated. Veach said the county will receive at least 18 months to schedule the repairs.

This is the first year since 2005 the county has been part of a federal disaster declaration.

Veach said about a dozen of county residents have registered for FEMA individual assistance, which the county is eligible. Among those are residents of Selz who reported water in basements. Also, property damage in the Balta area has been reported. Criteria is based on income levels, and not the scope of damages. The deadline to file for individual assistance is June 9, according to Art Alejandre, FEMA field supervisor.

To register call: 1-800-621-3362; or log on to www.disasterassistance.gov or stop at the FEMA disaster recovery center at the Minot Auditorium, which is open Monday thru Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Veach said another option residents may pursued Small Business Administration low-interest loans, for business-related property damage.

Disaster unemployment assistance is also available in the county for individuals who se employed or self-employment was lost or interrupted due to severe storms and flooding this spring. Residents in Pierce County who feel they can qualify need to apply by May 28. To file for unemployment assistance, go on line to www.jobsnd.com or call Job Service North Dakota at (701) 328-1630, Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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