Officials trying to work out funding for Surfside Beach Pier repairs

Officials trying to work out funding for Surfside Beach Pier repairs

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Officials in Surfside Beach are working to make the pier better and safer than ever, but before a design plan is created, the funding for the project has to be set.

John Adair, director of public works in Surfside Beach, said two parties are currently working to asses the damage that was done to the pier after Hurricane Matthew. That assessment has been done by both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and a company called Collins Engineering, he added.

Right now, there isn't a specific timeline or a specific number that the town is looking at. What officials are waiting for are the two parties that are assessing the damage to agree on some numbers.

Adair said once the assessment is complete, a worksheet will be submitted to get funding approved by FEMA.

"If approved, FEMA will reimburse the town at a 75 percent basis for our cost associated with replacing the pier," he said.

As a public structure, the Surfside Beach Pier qualifies for federal funding and 75 percent of the project will be funded federally. Town officials are hoping the state will fund the other 25 percent.

"The only thing that we're concerned about is that the state appropriates enough money, if they do decide to reimburse Hurricane Matthew costs, the non-federal share of Hurricane Matthew costs, that the pier be considered in that," Adair said.

The application is going to be a late submittal, but Adair said no matter what the cost of the project may be, the money still needs to be budgeted and approved by town council.

Some town council members said they don't know much about funding for this project, but Adair explained that is because the process has been in the hands of administrators.

"They're helping us deal with FEMA as to qualify for the replacement of as much damage as we can," he said.

There isn't a specific cost associated with the project as of right now, but Adair estimates it could be around $5 million.

"We can't go into a design phase until we know how much of the pier is actually going to be approved for funding. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves here," he said.

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