BENTON -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency's project specialist for ice storm and flood damage disasters in Scott County has finished his work here and is moving on to the next disaster area.
During the regular County Commission meeting Tuesday, Joel Evans, county developer, presented commissioners with a list of the last reimbursements for flood damage referred to as Disaster 1749 by FEMA.
"We ended up with $284,671.75," Evans said. "That's the total estimated expenses of which we will receive over $213,000 from the federal government and $28,000 from the state of Missouri. The county will absorb the remaining $43,000 expense."
The reimbursements were broken down into 13 projects. "A lot of it was gravel roads," Evan said.
Total project costs also included: around $50,000 for debris removal; $19,000 for sandbagging, road closures, emergency road clearing, assisting stranded motorists and miscellaneous emergency measures; almost $14,000 for plaster repairs, carpet replacement and cleaning at the county courthouse; almost $5,500 for replacing a wooden bridge with culverts; almost $56,000 for repairs to asphalt roads at 12 sites; and just over $6,000 for culvert repairs at eight sites.
Evans said he is grateful to FEMA officials for their "diligent work over the past few months assisting us with recovery from this disaster. Not only has FEMA provided financial assistance for our county and its communities, but also provided a wealth of guidance on the physical recovery."
While the Hurricane Katrina/Rita recovery "left FEMA with a black eye," Evans said, "I was pleased with their Public Assistance (assistance to local governments and private not-for-profits) work in Scott County with few exceptions. Open communication and adherence to established guidelines gave a sense of transparency to an otherwise complex process."
In an e-mail to the Standard Democrat, Hector Rivera, FEMA's project specialist for both the ice storm and flood damage disasters in Scott County this year, said the "level of cooperation and hospitality in the communities of Scott County are unrivaled by other communities nationwide with whom I have worked."
Rivera also commended Evans for his assistance in the claims process.
"His help improved the efficiency of the process in each project," Rivera said. "It is my opinion that without his work, the applicants of Scott County would have submitted substantially lower requests for federal public assistance and fewer of these would have met the requirements for approval. Not only did his efforts profit the residents of Scott County, but also saved countless federal dollars through his help to speed the process along."
Having first arrived here in February following the ice storm disaster, Rivera is leaving Friday to begin working with communities affected by Hurricane Gustav in Louisiana, according to county officials.
"I'd like to do something for Hector," said Commissioner Ron McCormick. "He's been here pretty much all summer away from his family."
"Many have lived in hotel rooms here for as long as eight months," Evans said.
In addition to Rivera, Theresa Weldon and Mike Price are also worthy of special thanks from the county, according to Evans.
In other business Tuesday:
* Starting on Sept. 29, county highway department hours will be from 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"We are working four 10-hour days now," said Presiding Commissioner Jamie Burger.
The change is due to the shortening daylight hours, according to Burger.
He said as it is no longer fully light at 6 a.m., starting an hour later in the day is important "for the safety of our employees and the safety of the traveling citizens."
* Commissioners approved the purchase of two computers for a total cost of $1,350 from PC Services Co. of Sikeston for the Public Administrator's office.
Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn said the computers were apparently damaged by lightning.
"We are going to submit them on the insurance claim," Ziegenhorn said.