City’s April storm damage not eligible for federal aid

Wild rainfall on April 13 led to major damage of streets and culverts in Red Bay, and the city will have to foot the entire bill for repairs.

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Water and gas lines are currently exposed near the corner of 6th Avenue NW and 2nd Street NW. The roadway was damaged during heavy rainfall on April 13. News photo/Jason Collum

RED BAY | The fallout continues from massive flooding the Red Bay area received on April 13 as city leaders have learned the damage cannot be included with a previous emergency declaration. This means the city will have to foot the bill for major repairs of streets and culverts damaged in the storm.

A previous federal disaster declaration had been made for flooding and storm damage throughout parts of the South from February into March. The city incurred more than $150,000 of damage from the February flooding. April just added to the woes.

The Red Bay City Council agreed Monday evening to dip into the city’s municipal aid accounts to fund much-needed repairs to at least three streets that received the most damage. Those streets include 11th Avenue NE, which is currently closed to through traffic; Dogwood Drive, which has been repaired to make it passable but will require additional repair work, and the intersection of 6th Avenue NW and 2nd Street NW, which was heavily eroded during the storms, exposing gas and water lines in the process. The accounts combined only total a little more than $88,000, which means the city could potentially have to borrow money to make adequate repairs.

Mayor Charlene Fancher told Council members she was deeply disappointed with the news.

“That was not what I wanted to hear because this was much larger than the damage in February,” Fancher said. “The April 13 event did its damage with a lot of debris.”

The city has obtained an engineer’s report on the damage streets and the Council agreed Monday to authorize Fancher to seek bids on the necessary repairs.

“I’ll do everything I can to get the best possible work on these roads,” Fancher said.

Additionally, she said she plans to ask the Red Bay Water & Gas Department for assistance on the repairs of the intersection as utility lines run through there are are currently exposed.