Tift and Worth are ready for federal public assistance - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tift and Worth are ready for federal public assistance

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By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

TIFTON, GA (WALB) - Sandbags that used to guard homes from rising flood waters and a few road closures are about the only signs left over from severe weather that caused millions in damage in Tift County.

"So far we've had about $180,000 in individual assistance. Unfortunately the public assistance is a bit more of a tedious process," said Tift EMA Director, Scott Bowers.

But public works crews in both Tift and Worth counties have been busy making temporary repairs to hundreds of miles in damaged roads. "Just right after the flood, there were over 60 road closures, and local forces have gotten that down to five now," said Tift County Director, Jim Carter.

All of the dirt roads in Worth County are now passable. County officials expect the public assistance kick-off meeting to be some time in the near future. "They assign us a project manager, which will be from GEMA and oversee all the projects that we have," said Carter.

But until than repair projects are already being divided into two categories separated by the dollar amount it will cost. Anything that will cost under $65,000 will be paid for completely by federal dollars.

"Anything over that amount,  the federal government will pay 75-percent with the rest being paid for by local governments," said Bowers.

County officials are more interested in taking advantage of the 15-percent that will be made available in mitigation funding. "If you have a project that needs to be improved, instead of putting it back they way it was that might not help the situation, they will actually have money to improve it," said Bowers.  

But until then, the Road Closed signs will remain. "We've got detours. And everybody can get where they need to go, but it's just not the most direct route," said Carter. So they are asking people affected by road closures to be patient.

The Disaster Recovery Center at the Tift County Multi-purpose room on Baldwin Drive is still open for Tift and Worth County residents affected by storm damage. That center is expected to remain open for at least another week.

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