By Sabrina Bates
WEAKLEY COUNTY (July 10) — A series of storms left paths of destruction and many without power for a few days in early May across the region. Weakley County entities now have an opportunity to recoup some of their funds used to clean up downed trees, replace utility poles and overtime compensation for employees.
Friday, Governor Bill Lee announced Weakley is one of 20 counties across the state impacted by severe weather, flooding and straight-line winds May 3-4. The Major Disaster Declaration allows counties to apply to receive federal recovery assistance for reimbursement of specific expenses under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA) program.
The 20 counties combined reported more than $14 million in damages to structures and utilities. Weakley County Emergency Management Agency Director Ray Wiggington said the amount of damage in Weakely County from the May storms is estimated at $220,000.
Wiggington said the process for application this year looks different than in years past due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically, FEMA sends representatives to the requesting region for assessments. This year, however, Wiggington said most of the application process will be handled digitally with the process for approval and reimbursement potentially taking six to seven months.
The county EMA director said Weakley County Municipal Electric System had the largest request for the eligible funding with pole replacement and overtime for employees. The City of Martin Public Works Department and Weakley County Highway Department are seeking the remainder of the county’s assistance for tree and debris cleanup and removal, and overtime for employees.
Other counties under the governor’s Major Disaster Declaration include Benton, Carroll, Davidson, Decatur, Dickson, Dyer, Hardin, Henderson, Henry, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Lake, Lawrence, Madison, Maury, Obion and Perry.
By Sabrina Bates