Chatham County assesses Irma recovery budget - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Chatham County assesses Irma recovery budget

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Chatham County Commissioners are getting a clearer picture of how much impact Tropical Storm Irma had on residents county-wide - from dollar amounts to resources being used.

The Chatham Emergency Management Agency's director and the County's public works director gave presentations and fielded questions from Commissioners today.

County Manager Lee Smith told us earlier this week, that thanks to previous tax increases for certain services, county funds will still be in good shape following Irma.

Seven homes were destroyed, hundreds more received some kind of damage. Unlike Hurricane Matthew, flood waters and storm surge had the biggest impact on residents. After about two weeks now of damage assessments .. the focus for the County is shifting to recovery efforts for those affected.

After about two weeks now of damage assessments the focus for the County is shifting to recovery efforts for those affected.

That includes debris cleanup, which is ongoing, as the county works to find more local contractors amid a shortfall of crews from national companies. Looking at initial cost estimates, Irma will hit the County budget from the general fund to the Special Service District fund and solid waste.

FEMA and GEMA are picking up the lion's share of the nearly $4 million in total estimated expenses, leaving around $650,000 for county taxpayers. Following the presentation, commissioners largely had words of praise for how CEMA and other county departments performed during Irma, but also said there's room for improvement.

"But I always want to see that we get better, even when we did good," said Commissioner James "Jay" Jones, District 6, Chatham County. "And what I mean by that is, take the time now to find out what public needs we missed out on, so we can be even better just in case we have another hurricane this year, or one next year."

CEMA's director did say there will be after action reviews, two of those public, to get feedback on what went well, and what could improve in the next event. We'll be sure to let you know when those are when we find out.

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