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Pennington County Not On Relief List

July 11, 2008, 3:54 PM by Karla Ramaekers

Pennington County Not On Relief List
Twenty-seven South Dakota counties and three reservations got news this week that they'd be receiving federal aid to help repair infrastructure after last month's storms.   And while most of its surrounding counties are on the list, Pennington County isn't.   The reason why might surprise you:  despite extensive flood damage, they didn't apply for aid.

Floodwaters washed out roads and damaged culverts across Pennington County last month.  And despite the high price tag of repairs, county officials decided to wait to apply for federal aid.

"You have thirty days from the day the declaration was made to have everything finalized and obviously we don't want to wait until the last minute to do that so we're getting pretty close and we're starting to gather the actual data from the assessments and damage reports that have come in," Carbajal says.

Pennington County Emergency Manager Anthony Carbajal says to apply for federal aid to repair county bridges and roads, a county must prove around $280,000 worth of damage.  And he says more assessment was needed before submitting an application. 

"We were very close to that. If we were to submit and not qualify, then we were out completely. So we made the decision not to submit for it and rather get a better handle on the actual damage that we had and if we exceed the 280 then we can submit for it," Carbajal says.

It's strategy- a county can only apply for federal aid one time per disaster that's declared. In this case, waiting it out could really pay off. 

"Now we have a lot of actual damage repair costs and we have a better understanding of what actually, all the damages that actually occurred and the costs involved in that," Carbajal says.

He says being thorough in reporting damage will be the key to how much - if any - aid the county receives. Pennington County hopes to have all damage reports and estimates submitted before the end of the month.

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