Local emergency management officials are applauding the Governor’s request for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for five Florida counties, affected by the recent flooding.
Immediately after the floods, Taylor County tallied its damage to convince FEMA officials it qualifies for funding. The county saw significant impacts due to the heavy rainfall and flooding of the Steinhatchee River.
“We probably had 60 or 70 homes that were flooded or affected by the rainwater in the river, and we had several homes that had water under their mobile homes or under their homes for seven to 10 days. So, they were affected or impacted by the flood waters,” said Steve Spradley, Taylor County's Emergency Management Director.
But, Spradley says because several of the homes are classified as “secondary homes,” they did not count in FEMA’s initial damage assessment. He called it “a difference of opinion.” But, that changed after Spradley and other local officials asked for another assessment, and it could take weeks to find out those results.
“They have their own criteria, and the state has their own criteria,” he added. “By the time they were through, we all agreed on the numbers. It increased from 24 to 36 in the homes affected or damaged. You know, in the grand scheme of things, it probably y will not make that big a difference, but we just want to make sure there is a fair count and fair assessment for our people.”
Spradley is encouraged that the Governor requested a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for five counties, including, Taylor County to receive some funding to help with the damage.
“What will help us is the Governor consolidating all of the damage in the state,” he continued. “It was one storm system that affected us all, and naturally with the population and homes that they have in Pasco County for instance, they had more extensive damage and homes affected than we did. We’re hopeful that they will take the storm and the damage in its totality for the state that we can get a declaration for our citizens here that need some federal assistance.”
In addition to Pasco, the other counties included in the declaration request are Pinellas, Dixie and Hillsborough counties.
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