STAFF WRITER JARED FIELDS
Good news for the 33 Texas counties hit hard by severe storms and flooding last fall as President Donald Trump on Feb. 25 issued a federal disaster declaration.
The declaration means the counties — including Burnet and Llano — have access to Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation grant programs.
The declaration was not for Individual Assistance grants.
Llano County has spent just over $1 million on flood debris cleanup. Burnet County expects to spend nearly $1 million on flood-related costs by the time all is said and done. With the declaration, FEMA will provide reimbursement of at least 75 percent of eligible costs.
“During the October 2018 floods, Llano County was severely impacted with most of our tributaries, creeks, rivers, and lake reaching record levels of flooding causing damage and destruction throughout our county. We are grateful for President Trump, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Governor Abbott, and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) for their actions in making this declaration,” said Llano County Judge Ron Cunningham in a written statement. “While this declaration is only for Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation grants, we are still awaiting FEMA’s decision on if Llano along with other Texas counties qualified for Individual Assistance grants.”
Burnet County discussed the declaration during the regular Commissioners Court meeting Feb. 26.
“All our ducks are in a row. We’ve just got to push them in the water,” said Herb Darling, Burnet County director of Development Services. “It’s exciting to see where that process is today.”
Burnet County has a special court meeting scheduled March 1 to address the flood debris pile located in Granite Shoals.
The president’s declaration was requested by Gov. Greg Abbott.
“I thank the President and FEMA for granting this disaster declaration,” Abbott said. “As communities continue to recover and rebuild from the aftermath of these devastating floods, we remain committed to working with our federal and local partners to ensure that Texas is more resilient than ever before.”
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz also gave his thoughts on the disaster declaration. Cruz visited the Highland Lakes on Oct. 17 to view the flood’s damage.
“I am pleased President Trump approved federal disaster support for these impacted Texas counties,” Cruz said. “I witnessed the damage from the unprecedented flooding throughout Central Texas firsthand, and last November, Senator Cornyn and I wrote to President Trump urging him to grant Governor Abbott’s disaster declaration request. This federal support will help Texans recover and rebuild following last year’s devastating storms.”
The counties included in the Federal Disaster Declaration are: Archer, Baylor, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Comanche, Coryell, Dimmit, Edwards, Fannin, Franklin, Grimes, Haskell, Hill, Hopkins, Houston, Jones, Kimble, Kinney, Knox, Llano, Madison, Mason, McCulloch, Menard, Nolan, Real, San Saba, Sutton, Throckmorton, Travis, Uvalde, and Val Verde.