Ten months after Hurricane Michael wreaked havoc locally, the Houston County government has used federal funds sent to mitigate recovery costs.
On Monday the Houston County Commission approved the application of about $764,000 in federal Highway Administration funds to recoup costs from rehabilitating five roads damaged during the Category 5 storm. The commission also authorized the allocation of about $233,000 in Federal Emergency Management Agency money to pay for overtime costs resulting from the repairs and road cleanup.
FEMA began reimbursing the county a few months ago in increments, but more money should come soon, said Barkley Kirkland, Houston County’s chief engineer. Kirkland said he submitted an initial invoice of about $1.5 million to FEMA for reimbursement but noted the total owed to the county could eventually surpass that.
When FEMA announces a disaster declaration for an area – like Houston County received following Michael’s Oct. 10 landfall – it will reimburse local governments at least 75 percent of the costs they incur in emergency response. State and local governments then split the remaining price tag, or 12.5 percent each in Houston County’s case.
The projects FHWA funded involved State Line Road, County Road 55 South, County Road 81 North, County Road 95 North and Junction Road – all thoroughfares that qualify for federal funding. The county addressed projects on several other smaller roads that the FHWA funds did not cover, Kirkland said.
County employees also worked 59,872 hours, including 15,369 hours of overtime, in debris cleanup, according to an earlier Eagle report.
In other action, the commissioners:
>> Entered into an agreement with the state to resurface Wicksburg Road from Alabama Highway 92 to Alabama Highway 123.
>> Approved a request to eliminate one full-time civil document server position at the Houston County Sheriff’s Office and replace the position with a full-time deputy.
>> Approved a joint bid with the City of Dothan for automotive, truck, and equipment filters.
>> Elected District 4 Commissioner Brandon Shoupe to represent the county on the Association of County Commissions of Alabama’s legislative committee.
>> Concurred with the Houston County Personnel Board’s outline of the 2020 county holiday schedule.
>> Vacated a portion of McCord Road.
>> Appointed WTVY vice president/general manager Spencer Bienvenu to fill an unexpired term on the Houston County Water Authority board.