GILMER COUNTY, Ga. – The “third worst storm” in recent history is what Public Works Director Jim Smith called the surge in late March. Smith noted a “preliminary damage report” saying that totals are estimated between $300,000 and $350,000 for road and public works repairs and cleanup. However, that is the preliminary estimate offered to FEMA and GEMA this week.
With the vast majority of that costs in road damage, reports have come that over 80 roads in the county were damaged in some manner. Smith made his comment about the storm being the “third worst” in reference to his two decades of service in Gilmer County.
Additional costs comes from debris removal that the county is performing. However, in outer parts of the county, people have been burning debris in ditches in controlled burns as they are also trying to clean up from the storm.
Smith said the storm has not been declared a disaster yet. But noted that a visit from FEMA and GEMA this week was part of that process so that the Governor could declare it a disaster. Damage assessments, meetings, and reports are all included in that process. Smith said, “The Governor can declare it a disaster and then, in turn, submit his request to Homeland Security, FEMA, and on to the President.”
Smith also noted that Gilmer was reported as one of the worst hit of the roughly 8-10 counties being inspected.
The $350,000 estimate only includes the report from Public Works. More damage has come to other departments like Parks & Recreation and the Golf Course. Including that, Smith commented today that the totals could come closer to $450,000 in total, but no detailed calculation has been officially made yet.
Even today, Hill Road remains closed as the county has awaited manufactured pipes and is currently installing them as part of the repair. The county is continuing the cleanup and repair process as they await a disaster declaration that could bring emergency aid funds to the county to reimburse some of the costs that have already been incurred and paid.