Counties may team up for aid - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Counties may team up for aid

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July 18, 2005

Dougherty County-- Some south Georgia counties are assessing flood damage and hoping to get state money to help flood victims. Emergency Management officials are working to get Worth, Dougherty, and Colquitt County declared a regional disaster area.

Heavy rains last weekend flooded more than 100 homes and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to roads and utility lines in Colquitt, Worth, and Dougherty County.

But the Governor said the damage didn't merit federal disaster aid, so, now the Governor and the EMA's for the three south Georgia counties are trying to find other ways to get help.

Water soaked and now ruined belongings are piled high in these yards on Parr Road in southeast Dougherty County. "We've had six homes that have reported they've received some damage from the flood," said EMA Deputy Director Jim Vaught.

Vaught says the county also already spent more than $126,000 repairing damaged roads and downed power lines. But, that's not enough money to qualify Dougherty County for federal or state disaster assistance. "To get assistance for the homes, it requires as least 25 homes receive major damage," he says.

There are far more than 25 flood damaged homes across the county line in Worth County. More than 100 families lost hundreds of thousands of dollars property.

And in Colquitt County, the high water damaged roads and some homes. Governor Perdue has requested the Small Business Administration help flood victims in five Georgia counties, including Colquitt and Worth, get low interest loans.

If approved, the SBA loans could be available to contiguous counties, which might help flood victims in Dougherty County as well. "It really helps those people who didn't have flood insurance rebuild their homes," Vaught said.

If even the area is designated a state disaster area by GEMA, the county will likely have to foot the bill for road repairs, a reality of just how costly a storm can be. If GEMA declares this a regional disaster area, flood victims still must be denied a SBA loan before they can apply for state assistance.

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