FEMA no help to IDA

Published 2:26 pm Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Charlotte County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) met recently to decide on a plan of action to repair a parcel of storm damaged property currently owned by the IDA.
Charlotte County Administrator Daniel Witt spoke with The Charlotte Gazette about the meeting and explained that he had recorded the minutes for it. Additionally, Witt supplied a synopsis of the minutes for The Gazette to review.
According to the minutes’ summary from Witt, the IDA’s point of focus was a storm damaged parcel of land, specifically owned by the IDA. The dam structure itself had suffered extensive damage and had been breached.
Chairman Ralph Moore further explained that a land berm built behind that dam had also been damaged. The berm originally constructed by Verizon to protect previously installed fiber optic and telephone lines suffered damage such that the lines now lay exposed.
Chairman Moore shared photographs of the damage to the rest of the group. He also related to the committee that FEMA had no intention of providing any assistance with efforts to repair the storm damage due to an agency policy stating that the parcel “was not actively in use at the time the damage occurred. It was his opinion that under those circumstances there was no reason to apply to FEMA for aid.
Damage to the pond’s dam and protective berm put in place by Verizon was due to Tropical Storm Michael last October as the deadly system passed through Virginia.
Hurricane Michael made history in October as it hit the United States and tore a deadly and costly swath of damage through the eastern United States. It made landfall along the Florida panhandle as a category four hurricane with 155 mph winds. Michael then became a lingering and still deadly tropical storm and depression. The lingering tropical system brought days of record-breaking rainfall amounts and catastrophic flooding to the Carolinas. Michael did not spare Virginia. The weakening, yet still dangerous system spawned tornadoes, snapped and uprooted trees, caused extensive crop damage and upward of 500,000 power outages. Michael caused at least 5 deaths in Virginia including Ruby S. Allen and her son, Ronnie Allen Jr. of Eureka.
Hurricane Michael has officially been listed as the “strongest hurricane to ever hit the Florida panhandle and the fourth-most powerful hurricane to ever hit the United States.” Various sources estimate the financial losses associated with Hurricane Michael range between 25-100 billion. It also claimed 43 lives.
The minutes show that a motion was made by Jimmy Carwile, Cullen/Red House Representative and seconded by Aubrey Fane, Drakes Branch Representative to:
1. Not apply for any FEMA funding;
2. To contact Verizon and request relocation of their lines;
3. To fix the dam in such a way as to create a natural drain and allows continuous flow of water;
4. To contact the neighbors and inform them that the property would be posted and off limits (followed by a letter from the IDA Attorney)
5. To replant the area in vegetation, once the pond had drained.
All members voted in favor of the motion with none opposing.