Rising Waters 2015: County Documenting Expenses

Wichita County Commissioners met for another emergency meeting on Tuesday.  They are working on getting assistance from the State.

On Tuesday Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom sent a letter to Texas Governor Greg Abbott asking him to declare a state of emergency.

“With the city's within the county, Wichita County, it's going to be well over $1-million of taxpayers' money expended,” he said.

The cost could increase because some areas are still inaccessible, so officials can't assess the damage yet.  Roads are still flooded, bridges are washed away, and there is a lot of debris.  Some homes are damaged from the rising waters.

“I think it's 15 with major damage and seven with minor,” Judge Gossom said.

The good news, as he pointed out, was that most of the people whose homes were damaged had flood insurance.  This was not the case in 2007 and 2008.

“If they didn't have flood insurance, they need to call their commissioner, or me and let us know and we will do what we can do help them,” he said.

However, the county has to work on their needs, so that way they can get help from the state.

“We're going to do our best to capture all of those expenses to help with moving forward, so that if it's possible to get reimbursed for that local money, we'll get it,” Judge Gossom said.

If the Wichita County gets assistance, they will not get all of the money back.  Judge Gossom said they will only be reimbursed 80-percent, but anything is better than nothing.

So, now comes the long process of filling out all of the firms showing their expenses.

“If this does receive a federal declaration, that we have the appropriate things in place to try to get the county reimbursed,” he said.

With more rain in the forecast, officials are keeping a close eye on the radar and the water levels.  Judge Gossom said we have already had the potential of making history with all of the rain and we could again, but he hopes not.

, Newschannel 6