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Lexington County Council receives information of FEMA funds for flood recovery at their Tuesday meet

Lexington, SC (Danielle Smith) – During the Lexington County Council Meeting that was held August 22nd, the county’s Community Development Director Charles Garren gave an update on the ongoing disaster recovery efforts for Lexington County in regard to the "100-year flood" that happened in the fall of 2015. According to his report, Lexington County was awarded an additional $5,038,000 by the Fedearl Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on August 7th. These funds are earmarked to help with our county's recovery efforts. The additional $5 million now brings the total to $21,370,000 for disaster recovery funding.

Last month the county council approved the procurement of the county's management company, Civitas, LLC. They will monitor and then report on the efforts of the recovery. This independent monitoring is required by HUD in order to use the Federal funding that’s now in place. The county can now move forward with their efforts some 22 months after the floods took place.

As of last Tuesday, 50 homes are now in Phase I of rehabilitation process. That’s out of a total of 122 homes that have applied for assistance. Six homes do not qualify for rehab assistance because they are mobile homes. Phase I is explained as homeowners having the required paperwork submitted and these have met the guidelines and thresholds to receive help.

Mr. Garren was also asked about the county's buyout program. The buyout program is the process where the county will buy homes along flood prone creek beds and rivers. These will then be knocked down, turning the former home sites into green spaces and parks. This comes from a federal law in place that allows FEMA provided funding to prevent future issues with flooding around the community. Garren and the community development team have already begun the buyout program.

Both Garren and Erich Chatham of Civitas, LLC are working on some ideas on how to use the additional $5 million to help the county and its citizens in the recovery efforts. As of right now, some ideas for the additional funding include an increase of incentives for buyout participants, the rehabilitation of two local fire stations that have mold issues, infrastructure improvements of flood prone areas and mobile home replacement assistance.

The Community Development staff will bring more details to the September 26th county council meeting.

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Call Paul Kirby

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