Supervisor: MEMA repair requirements ‘useless’

Published 2:00 pm Monday, March 15, 2021

A Lincoln County supervisor says state roadwork reimbursement instructions are “useless.”

District 3 Supervisor Nolan Williamson made the remarks in Monday’s meeting of the board after Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey relayed Mississippi Emergency Management Association instructions to receive partial reimbursements for roadwork done to repair damage incurred in the recent winter storms.

Galey said MEMA required a very specific list to be submitted of what debris was collected, how much and where, and how it was disposed of, as well as before and after photos of potholes and other road damage, as well as time, materials and labor used. It was in response to the before and after photos that Williamson protested.

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He said being told after the fact to take photos before repair work was done was not timely instruction.

“Their information coming in late makes this useless to us,” Williamson said. “Useless.”

Repairs could not wait until state instructions arrived, he said, or numerous insurance claims would have been submitted to the county for damage incurred by motorists.

“We’ve already gotten the work done before they tell us what to do,” added board president and District 4 Supervisor Eddie Brown.

Galey said he agreed with the board’s sentiments, adding he had spent a long time on a teleconference meeting Friday arguing the point.

“The MEMA folks and FEMA folks heard that from me,” Galey said.

County engineer Ryan Holmes said in his experience MEMA just does not pay for roadwork from storm damage and “it’s almost not worth fighting it.”

Board attorney Will Allen suggested the supervisors proceed in areas that have not yet been repaired by photographing damaged areas as instructed, but to also submit photos of areas that have already been repaired.

“Submit those with the question of how we’re supposed to know ahead of time what areas are going to receive storm damage,” Allen said.

Williamson repeated his comments that the information was useless in a practical sense, saying MEMA and the state Legislature did not seem to want to help get such things done.

“How do you take something so simple and get them to understand it?” he asked.