County receives last of 2015 FEMA flood funds

Coffee County Engineer Marty Lentz said that the county had received the last of its FEMA funds from the December 2015 flood at the Coffee County Commission meeting on July 22.

“After that event occurred, we received probably 60 percent of our FEMA money funds due to us and then it kind of went into a delay,” Lentz said after meeting. “A lot of it had to do with the disasters that proceeded our event with Houston and Puerto Rico and so I think FEMA got overwhelmed.”

He said the total funds received from FEMA was around $3 million, which was mostly used to fix damage around the county. He said that after the flood, the county had to fix flood damage at various sites, which ranged from $5,000 to $50,000 per site.

“That $3 million was spread out over about 283 sites,” Lentz said.

The Coffee County Highway Department was approved to use some of the leftover funds to purchase a skid steer or compact-track loader with the money. He explained how the department manages to save money and create excess funds from the received funds.

“The money you receive from FEMA is a reimbursement,” Lentz said. “They pay 75 percent of the cost to get you back to pre-event (status). If you do a lot of the work yourself—in other words the county becomes kind of a contractor—we get the work done and we get a little bit of money in our budget to work with, it kind of replaces the labor cost. So it’s kind of money our forces made because we were able to do the work in-house, ourselves and not have to hire a contractor to do it. When those events happen, I like to take that and put into equipment. “

Lentz said that since receiving the final funds, the state EMA has been able to final-out the event, officially putting the event behind the county. He said that the county will be ready should another event happen.

“We’re not looking for another event, but we’re ready if another one takes place,” Lentz said.

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