County judge issues disaster declaration, seeks federal aid

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK | News-Telegram Managing Editor

Aug 5, 2007 - Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap issued a declaration of disaster for the county Friday and is seeking federal to help make repairs brought on by six weeks of rain and wind.

"We're asking for assistance, particularly for  roads and bridges throughout the county," Millsap said. "One commissioner said he's losing about $1,000 a day in repairs. A lot of people have complained about not enough road repair work being done, but it's because of the excess water."

Since June 16, storms have caused flooding and other damage across the county.

"It is my belief that damage to homes, businesses, public works and utility systems due to the rain constitutes a public health and safety hazard," Millsap wrote in a letter to Gov. Rick Perry. "I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that an effective response is beyond Hopkins County's capability to recover without supplementary State and/or Federal assistance."

�� Millsap said storms have knocked down trees on roads several times, and there is damage to county-maintained bridges stressed by the pressure from swollen creeks moving high volumes of water.

�� "We've also had some damage to buildings owned by the county," Millsap added.

Obviously, private citizens have also seen property damage from the storms and rainfall. 

"If the gneral public has suffered any flood damage or water damage or wind damage to their homes, I'd like for them to contact me within the next week," he said.

Time will be of the essence, however, as he expects to meet with a FEMA representative soon.

The county has issued a number of emergency declarations in recent years, but for far different reasons. Extreme lack of rainfall led to a number of emergency outdoor burning bans and disaster declarations for damage caused by droughts.

"All of our preachers, with all the praying they did for rain? We got it," said Millsap.

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