Augusta-Richmond County still waiting on millions from FEMA

By: Ryan Houston Email
By: Ryan Houston Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock/ Thursday, June 19, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Augusta Richmond County has shelled out millions for the ice storm back in February.

We've learned the county has yet to receive a dime from FEMA or GEMA. The week long storm caused thousands to be without power and took months to clean up.

Columbia County is the only one in the area that's already started to get money for what they've spent. Commissioner Marion Williams wants to know why Augusta hasn't seen a penny for months after the February ice storm.

"I'm kind of concerned now, because we hadn't got anything," Williams said.

Columbia County has received almost $3 million in state and federal funds.

"What we wanted to do first was get some money back in first then pay some more. I have another $4.1 million that I'm submitting," said Columbia County EMA Director Pam Tucker.

Columbia county clocked more than 500,000 cubic yards of storm debris. Augusta saw even more between 700,000 to 800,000 cubic yards. All that debris racked up a nearly $10 million price tag for Columbia County.

In Augusta, it's estimated to cost the county $16 million for total clean up. Columbia County taxpayers will pay around $600,000. Augusta-Richmond County could pay around $4 to $5 million.

Columbia County EMA officials tell us having a pre-disaster plan in place saved them millions.

"Comparing with counties that didn't have pre-event contract that went through competitive bidding to get better pricing, they probably paid triple," Tucker said.

Augusta-Richmond County was one of those counties that didn't have plan in place.

"We're very hopeful that we can get the most that we can back. If not we will begin to look at other options. We are hopeful that we'll get the most back," said Interim Administrator Tameka Allen.

"I'm just checking into to see where we are. We've spent a lot of money and thought we were going to be reimbursed by FEMA," said Commissioner Williams.

Officials tell us there are thousands of pages of paperwork that must be completed in order to qualify for reimbursement from the government. In Columbia County, their paperwork is finished. In Richmond County, we've learned majority of documents have been filed and now they're playing the waiting game.


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