County officials still assessing flood damage

Bailey RichardsStaff Reporter

July 19, 2012

HAZARD — Officials in Perry County continued on Thursday to assess damage from the flash flooding on Wednesday that covered roads, filled culverts and downed trees. While Perry County received around five inches of rain in just a few minutes causing some road damage, areas on Knott County were very hard hit with severe damage to both public roads and private property.

Perry County has been hit by major storms that have caused flood damage about once a year for the past several years. All of this adds up to waiting for several years to get federal money to pay back for large scale repair projects. It can be up to five years before some counties receive funds for damages.

Perry County is currently waiting for reimbursement for two floods, both from over a year ago. This waiting has stretched the county’s budget, though at present the county remains on solid ground financially, said Perry County Judge-Executive Denny Ray Noble, who declared a state of emergency on Wednesday.

Noble is already looking at how Perry County will pay for their minimal repairs and are looking at joining forces with other counties to apply for grant money from the National Resources Conservation Service.

“I didn’t think yesterday, in my mind, that we would have enough to file for that,” said Noble. “But we can go in together with other counties. There is probably not enough damage in Perry County to file on our own.”

In Perry County, most of the rain fell in the southern part of the county, breaking a few roads and overwhelming several culverts. Fort Branch in Fusonia and Bull Creek in Leatherwood were two of the hardest hit areas in Perry County.

While minimal property damage has been reported in Perry County so far, Noble said that he hopes that by applying for funds early they will be able to help any people that have issues from the flooding.

It is these rainy days that Noble said he has been saving for, and he is worried about how Knott County, which was so hard hit by the storm, will be able to handle the costs of clean up since they may not be reimbursed for several years.

The issues created by previous floods in Perry County have been fixed mostly by using county funds and county workers. Since they have not yet been able to be inspected by the Federal Emergency Management Administration for those projects, they have not been able to recoup those losses.