Richland County is holding a series of public meetings to gather input to help shape recovery efforts following the devastating and historic flooding of October 2015. The federal government recently released its guidelines for how Richland County can spend Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Program dollars for flood recovery efforts. The public meetings will aid Richland County in developing a targeted response within the federal guidelines. Meetings were held in June and additional meetings are scheduled in July. Following is a series of frequently asked questions about Richland County’s flood response and the use of recovery funds.
1. How much help will Richland County receive from the federal government to rebuild from October’s flood damage? Richland County has applied for funding for flood recovery from several sources, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation, Public Assistance and Flood Mitigation Assistance grant programs, in addition to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Program. For details about funding sources, visit www.rcgov.us/floodrecovery. Please note: Residents cannot apply on their own for these flood recovery funds.
2. Has the County received any funding yet? In February, the County was awarded $23.5 million in CDBG-DR funds. A series of community meetings are being held to solicit input from residents to help develop a plan to use these funds. That plan must be approved by federal officials before the funds are released to the County. Meetings were held in June, with additional meetings scheduled in July at the following times and locations:
· 7 p.m.-9 p.m. July 12, Sheriff's Dept. Substation, 2615 Lower Richland Blvd., Columbia
· 7 p.m.-9 p.m. July 12, Crane Creek Community Center, 7405 Fairfield Road, Columbia
· 7 p.m.-9 p.m. July 13, Eastover Park, 1031 Main St., Eastover
· 6 p.m.-8 p.m. July 13, Parklane Road Adult Activity Center, 7494 Parklane Road, Columbia
· 7 p.m.-9 p.m. July 14, Richland County Administration Building, 2020 Hampton St., Columbia
· 7 p.m.-9 p.m. July 14, Gadsden Park Community Center, 1668 S Goodwin Circle, Gadsden
3. Will the County use flood recovery funds to repair flood-damaged homes and businesses? This is one of multiple disaster recovery needs the County is considering. The County has compiled an initial list of properties that have storm-related damage. Residents who have not reported storm-related property damage should call the United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline. Dial 2-1-1, select a preferred language and then select option 7. Residents also may call the County Ombudsman at 803-929-6000 or send the following to Recovery@rcgov.us: property address, contact information and a contractor’s quote to complete any repair work.
4. Will the County use flood recovery funds to buy flood-damaged homes and businesses? Richland County Council has approved a plan to buy property in special flood hazard areas. Once a structure in a special flood hazard area is considered to be substantially damaged and the property owner has indicated interest in the County acquiring the site, the address is added to the appropriate grant application for potential funding.
5. Will the County use any of flood recovery funds to fix privately owned dams that were damaged during the flood? County officials are looking into several options to mitigate future potential flood damage to dams. Privately owned dams are expected to remain the responsibility of their owners.
6. Who to contact for more information? For information on the County’s plans for using flood recovery funds, call the County Ombudsman at 803-929-6000 or email Recovery@rcgov.us. (Residents needing assistance for matters related to the flood should call the United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline. Dial 2-1-1, select a preferred language and then select option 7.) Also, Richland County created the www.rcgov.us/floodrecovery webpage to keep residents informed of projects being funded by flood recovery grants. Other flood-related information also is provided on the page.