Officials are still waiting to see if Tallapoosa County qualifies for federal funding to help with the cleanup after the storms of April 19.

County officials met the Friday deadline to submit documentation to try and qualify for funding help with the $1.3 million spent by local governments after the storm that blew down thousands of trees and left many residents in Alexander City without power for several days.

“It was quite an expensive storm,” Tallapoosa County Emergency Management Agency director Jason Moran said. “I’m just glad no one got seriously injured. There are a lot of moving parts in the clean up and a lot of hard work.”

Alexander City Mayor Tommy Spraggins said Alexander City has already paid out more than $600,000 to repair the city’s electrical grid and for debris cleanup.

“Our total was $602,852,” Spraggins told the Alexander City City Council on Monday night. “Labor to rebuild the electrical system was $98,905.86.”

Alexander City community development director Al Jones said $503,946.20 went to equipment, inventory such as transformers, wire and utility poles and debris cleanup.

Other municipalities and Bill’s Electric sent crews to aid Alex City in rebuilding the electric grid. They received $275,000 of the $602,852. Some of the funds for equipment and inventory went to that as well.

Moran said his office compiled documentation of damages and costs from the county, Alex City and Dadeville and submitted it to the Alabama Emergency Management Agency on Friday. 

“They had a couple days to look it over before sending it to (Federal Emergency Management Agency),” Moran said. “It’s now under review by FEMA. One day next week a FEMA representative will be here to look over damage and do further evaluation of debris.”

 Moran said this total does not include anything to private property. 

“This is for debris in the rights of way and government obligated property like utilities and parks,” Moran said. 

This assessment is for public assistance and Moran said there is a possibility of low interest loans through the Small Business Administration.

“We don’t know that either,” Moran said. “It is still under review.”

Moran said the damage in Tallapoosa County will have to be added with totals from across Alabama that experienced damage April 19 to qualify for FEMA funding.

“All of the counties that experienced damage on the same day from the same storm system can combine their totals,” Morans said. “You can combine Tallapoosa County’s $1.3 million with that from the (other) counties and come up with $7.6 million, we can qualify for funding.”

Chilton, Coosa, Butler, Crenshaw and Barbour counties also had damage from the April 19 storm that can be added to the total to meet the FEMA requirements.

Alexander City development director Al Jones said FEMA funding would be at least 75% of the FEMA-approved costs. If FEMA approves everything submitted and the totals reach the FEMA threshold, Alexander City should receive just over $452,000 in federal funding.

Next week’s visit by FEMA officials will determine the next step with handling storm debris that has been moved to consolidated areas across the county.

“When they come next week, they will give us the go ahead,” Moran said. 

The debris can be ground up into mulch or burned, either way the disposal will have to follow the guidelines of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

“We will follow those guidelines to a ‘T,’” Moran said. “We will make sure everything is done correctly.”

Moran was also thankful no one was injured during the cleanup.

“There were a lot of different crews doing a lot of work,” Moran said. “We made a point to do the work safely and they have done it.”

Moran has heavily promoted the Tallapoosa Alert system as a way to get notifications of storm watches and warnings throughout the county. He said the systems network of calls, text messages and emails likely saved lives.

“Approximately 17,000 phone calls and messages went that morning related to the storm,” Moran said. “I went to a lot of homes with damages where the homeowner was proud to have gotten a call that morning.”

Residents can sign up for Tallapoosa Alerts by going to the Tallapoosa EMA webpage under the departments tab at www.tallaco.com.

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.