Thanks to a signature by President Donald Trump, governments in Tallapoosa County will see more than $750,000 in disaster relief for an April 19 storm.
The straight-line wind and hail storm left damage all across Tallapoosa County blowing down trees and damaging the electrical grid in Alexander City. Now federal assistance will pay for part of the bill for county and city governments.
“We will get reimbursed for some of the things,” Tallapoosa County administrator Blake Beck said. “That money will go back to the accounts it was expended from.”
Alexander City’s total damage was more than $600,000, mostly to the electrical system and the total continues to grow. City officials paid for crews from other municipal electric authorities to come to town to increase the city’s 13 electric power workers to more than 70 to decrease time to restore power across the city.
Alexander City Mayor Tommy Spraggins is happy to see the relief funding.
“I got chill bumps when I saw the notice late Friday afternoon,” Spraggins said. “It was more than $650,000 back when we totaled it up and it has grown.”
Spraggins said debris estimates at the time were 27,000 cubic yards.
“The debris pile at the city shop has grown to 35,000 cubic yards,” Spraggins said. “With this declaration we can add to the total as the debris pile grows. We think our total could be between $800,000 and $1 million.”
The total across the county was more than $1.3 million when it was filed two months ago and 75% of the total will be covered by funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Though the initial application is in and the declaration approved with Trump’s signature, there is still more paperwork.
“FEMA will assign a person to handle the application from this point,” Tallapoosa County Emergency Management Agency director Jason Moran said. “Normally this would be in person meetings with someone from FEMA. The (COVID-19) pandemic made assessment briefings challenging. A lot of this will be handled by phone now.”
No individual assistance was approved for storm relief.
Just the damage in the April 19 straight-line wind event would not qualify for the federal funding. Damage in Coosa, Barbour, Chilton, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Henry and Pike counties from the same storm line totaling more than $7.3 million allowed for the FEMA funding.
Moran said many people played a role in getting the federal declaration.
“I want to thank all local, state and federal entities that have given us assistance so far,” Moran said. “Everyone has been good to work with and without their help we would not have been able to get this declaration.”’