It’s Your Money: Horry County uses FEMA money to buy new equipment

It’s Your Money: Horry County uses FEMA money to buy new equipment

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Horry County recently awarded $1 million to three companies for the purchase of equipment that will help the county better prepare for future hurricanes.

Soon the county’s stormwater and public works departments will be equipped with new tools that will clean the beaches and ditches.

Eight pieces of equipment were recently bidded out and five pieces were already awarded.

The equipment includes:

Pieces that will help the stormwater department clean ditches:

  • A Tilt Deck Trailer that will help haul material to a job site.
  • A Mobile Walking Hydraulic Excavator that will help workers get into small ditches.
  • A Skid Steer Loader and a Tandem Axle Dump Truck that will help move and load materials.

The stormwater department doesn’t currently have any of the equipment purchased, according to a Horry County spokesperson.

Pieces that will help clean beaches:

  • Surf Rake will remove unwanted debris from the sand into a hopper truck.
  • 4x4 Pickup that will carry crews and tools.
  • 4-Wheel Drive Backhoe Loader and a Vacuum/Jetter Truck that will clean the beach outfalls.

The new pieces of equipment are funded by FEMA.

Horry County’s Director of Development Courtney Kain said the $1 million was awarded to the county for damages from Hurricane Matthew.

Kain said originally FEMA offered Horry County around $1.2 million based on the amount of damage to Arcadian Shores. However, the county had already moved forward with a beach renourishment project at Arcadian Shores funded by state grants.

“I think FEMA understands that in some cases, especially when you’re in a tourist area, you need to be able to move forward with projects and you can’t always wait to go through that process and so they’ve identified that as an issue and identified this alternate project program that allows you to proceed with what you need to do to recover,” Kain said.

FEMA’s Alternate Project Program allowed the county to use a portion of the funds initially offered to instead fund equipment that will help with recovery.

”The vacuum truck, that is to help them clear out trash and debris. One of the pieces of equipment allows them to clean the sand on the beach to keep the debris off the beach, so that will help our residents on a day-to-day basis and especially help us as we prepare and recover from a storm,” Kain said explaining some of the equipment.

The county received around $11.2 million in public assistance from FEMA following Hurricane Matthew.

Kain explained funds designated as public assistance money can’t be given to help individual homeowners. FEMA has another pot of money for damages to homes called individual assistance program.

Many residents have expressed concern that the county is not using FEMA money to prevent future flooding.

Kain said the money used on this equipment could not have been applied to mitigation efforts.

“IA and PA are Individual Assistance and Public Assistance; they just look at the damage immediately following the storm. FEMA has other programs when we talk about mitigating future risk and those are programs we will be looking into as we start developing our resiliency plans,” she said.

The bid for the FEMA Alternate Project Equipment was awarded to three companies in August: Menzi, Public Works Equipment DEMA and Blanchard Machinery Company.

The bid said the equipment must be delivered by October 3.

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