Digital First: Warren County added to the list to receive federal aid for backwater flooding

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VICKSBURG, Miss. (WJTV)- A huge part of Warren County has been underwater from February to the beginning of August. The price tag for individual homeowners has been enormous. But it is dwarfed by the cost to county agencies and the taxpayers who fund them.

Now Warren County Emergency Management Director John Elfer says they are expected to receive federal flood aid.

“We got word that Warren County had been included in the public assistance federal declaration concerning the backwater flooding”.

The costs to the county for road repairs, sandbags, and debris removal are a significant chunk of the bill but, Elfer says the Sheriff’s Department bore the brunt of the expense.

Now, federal aid gives Warren County and other surrounding counties an opportunity to recover from damages that were done during this flood. With the flooding, Sheriff Martin Pace says the department had to establish a substation which increased to over 600 man hours.

Pace provided a breakdown of costs to date since February 28 to present. Deputies are still patrolling Eagle Lake 24/7.

Repairs due to deer/vehicles$12,261
Payroll for deputies$166,331
Mileage/Gas for boats and vehicles$51, 520
Rent for mobile storage unit$8,540
Supplies/Gear$4,433
Total (as of Sept. 1)$243,085

Historically, the Sheriff is known for leaving budget money on the table at the end of the year. These expenses represent a massive expense but do not come close to illustrating the immense work expended by deputies. Most work three on and three off with an average twelve-hour shift. Right now, many are working on at least one off day to make sure homes and people in the area are protected.

“I was keeping at least two sometimes three deputies at Eagle Lake 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Pace. “And we had a man and checkpoint to check people in and out of the evacuated area. I was keeping at least 22 sometimes 23 deputies at Eagle Lake 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

The Emergency Management plan to meet with FEMA this week for the initial call to gather all documents and everything else needed to make an argument for aid successful.

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