“The state is coming in tomorrow (Wednesday) and I believe a representative with FEMA will be coming in with them to go around and assess the damage that I have turned in to make sure that the numbers are up to par so that we are added in to the state’s declaration,” said Dennis Bass, who works for the Commonwealth of Kentucky out of the office of Greenup Judge Executive Robert W. Carpenter.
Carpenter on Tuesday signed a declaration of a local state of emergency since Greenup County and its incorporated cities have received almost 12 inches of rain in the last month, causing flash floods, road damage, mud and rock slides, street flooding, and/or blockages, bridge and culvert blockages and wash outs. Trees have fallen across roads and power lines and citizens have been forced from their homes due to high water and power outages.
Under a state of emergency, the judge executive, under authority of certain Kentucky Revised Statutes, can waive procedures and formalities otherwise required by law pertaining to performance of public work, entering into contracts for that work, incurring obligations for that work, employment of permanent and temporary workers, utilization of volunteer workers, rental of equipment and the appropriation and expenditure of public funds.
“Whenever he (Carpenter) declares, he is able to make funds available in order to actually go out and fix roads, and do things that he wasn’t able to do before,” Bass said. “Like emergency appropriations, he can change things and make them work. He can go ahead and make contracts without bidding. If he turns around and he has to have a bridge fixed right now, he doesn’t have to do the bidding process of two or three months in order to get it fixed. He can hire somebody to go ahead and do it.”
According to a news release from the office of Buford Hurley II, director of Greenup County E-911, “Whereas local government has the responsibility to protect the public health, safety and wlfare of its citizens, and to mitigate the effects of such events upon its citizenry, the judge executive has declared a state of emergency to be in effect for a period of 60 days.”
Bass said the declaration shows there is enough damage in the county to ask for funding from FEMA.
“Judge Carpenter has to come up with enough damage in the county before FEMA will even come in,” Bass said. “With this it is above and beyond his means of taking care of everything right now. Whatever damages he has in the county, he can’t fix them right now. It’s going to be a long period of time before he can, and he has made the declaration where he can try to get part of it fixed and go ahead and do them as long as he documents it.”
Bass said he has been contacting all of the cities in the county, such as Raceland, where they recently experienced the collapse of a street.
“Those funds would have had to come out of their General Fund in order to make it,” Bass said. “It just so happened that we’ve got the Governor (Steve Beshear) trying to get a federal declaration. They will be able to ride along on Judge Carpenter’s coat tails for FEMA grants. The federal government pays 75 percent. The state will pay 12 (percent) and they are responsible for 13 (percent).”
Meanwhile, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Department of Highways District 9 the following roads are closed:
• As of Tuesday, in Greenup County, Ky 750 remains closed to traffic at Chinn Street in Raceland due to roadway slippage. Utility repairs are nearing completion and the road could reopen today. Motorists may detour using Ky 3105 or local routes.
• In Greenup County, Ky 827 (Coal Branch Road) is one lane near Quail Run. Traffic is being controlled by temporary signals.
• Ky 168 near U.S. 23 at the Boyd-Greenup County line is restricted to one lane due to a roadway slip.
FRANK LEWIS may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232, or firstname.lastname@example.org.