CONYERS - When Hurricane Irma came roaring through Georgia last September, no county in the state, including Rockdale, was spared. For the efforts that the Rockdale County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and other county agencies put forth during the storm and during cleanup efforts afterwards, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) is reimbursing the county $196,151.24.
Rockdale County Fire Chief and EMA Director Dan Morgan advised the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners at its work session Tuesday that the reimbursement is coming through GEMA from a program the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has set up.
“These are reimbursements for the direct expenses the county incurred for essentially combating the effects and the after-effects of Hurricane Irma as it came through our county,” said Morgan.
He noted that for the first time in Georgia history, all 159 counties were declared disaster areas due to this storm.
“The total (amount) is a combination of four different categories,” continued Morgan, “for building repairs, protective measures, debris removal - which was the majority of this, and then administration costs that the county incurred in actually processing this entire process of either managing it while it was going on, or after the fact, doing the stuff for FEMA and GEMA to get our money reimbursed back to us.”
In preparation for the hurricane winds coming through Rockdale, schools were closed, an emergency operations center was manned, and a curfew was established to keep residents off unsafe roads and give emergency services clearer paths to reach those in need. The day after the storm wreaked its havoc on Rockdale there were approximately 15,000 residents without power, and multiple roads were closed with trees and/or power lines down.
The Rockdale County Department of Transportation led a group effort to pick up storm debris left behind after Irma. Several other county departments assisted in the effort including the Sheriff’s Department, Parks and Recreation, Water Resources and Stormwater.
Morgan thanked those departments and others for their work together on the storm and on the reimbursement process.
“I can’t help but have a huge shout out to the water department, RDOT, EMA, fire, the police, and the finance department for making this all come together.”