Town of HHI foots bill for private road cleanup rejected by FEMA

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - Hurricane Matthew may be long gone from our area, but Hilton Head is still feeling its effects.

FEMA is refusing to cover clean up costs of more than 100 roads on the island, leaving the town to foot the bill. On many roads, you can still see debris piled up along the side. Many of the private roads were recently rejected by FEMA to be reimbursed for cleanup costs.

This week, the town has decided to take on the cost themselves. Just last week, the town heard back from FEMA with the news that 110 private roads were denied. Most of these are smaller non-plantation roads - some even dirt roads. Tuesday, town officials decided they would not be reapplying to appeal FEMA's denial. Instead, the town is moving forward to remove the remaining storm debris out of roadways without assistance. The cost of this effort is estimated to be about $50,000 dollars. Adding to the more than $82-million price tag, the town has racked up from Hurricane Matthew - with the biggest expense coming from debris clearing.

"About $50 million plus is gonna be in debris, and then there's also the cleanup of the ditches. There's the cleanup of the waterways. We certainly did hope that a good portion of that would be covered by FEMA, but there's gonna be some cost that'll be on us, and we'll have to figure out how to pay for that. So, budget time in the spring is gonna be another trying conversation," said Steve Riley, Hilton Head Town Manager.

Hilton Head Town Manager, Steve Riley says they are focused on getting debris cleaned out from the residential roads. They're hoping to have some help from volunteers to make sure everything gets cleaned up as quickly as possible.

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