CHAPEL HILL – With the Small Business Administration and other state and county agencies conducting their review of flood damage in the area, local officials are offering updates on the community after the flood.
Emergency management coordinator for Orange County, Darshan Patal, says the majority of the flood damage appears to have affected Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and the efforts of emergency workers are beginning to transition.
“This has really now transitioned to a recovery effort where DFF, housing and a couple of other county agencies are working to make sure short-term and long-term housing options are taken care of,” Patal says.
Chapel Hill town manager, Roger Stancil, says the flood damage to Town Hall will take about four months to fix.
“We’ve got to totally start over again,” Stancil says. “We need to think about the space and we need to move some of our technology to a different location and then redo the space.”
In its review, the SBA pushed for a disaster declaration for Orange County. According to Patal, that declaration would allow residents and small business owners to receive low-interest loans to help rebuild.
“The governor has since signed that declaration and sent it to the SBA for final approval,” Patel says. “As soon as we get the final approval, we will get the SBA into our assistance center at University Mall to allow individuals to come in, consult with them, do applications and everything they need to do to get the assistance they need from the SBA.”
While Stancil says there is no estimate for how much the clean-up to the town will cost, he says there are a few ways that Chapel Hill can find enough money in its budget to pay for the clean-up.
“One of the reasons that the town has a fund balance is it’s our savings account for natural disasters,” Stancil says. “That’s why we keep it at a healthy level so we can recover from such disasters.”
Stancil says that Chapel Hill is keeping records of the damages in the event that it can get reimbursements from state or federal agencies. He says this also extends to the potential lack of money the town is getting since waving fees for certain types of clean-up and construction on property.
“Depending again on the level of declarations from the state and federal government, there may be some potential for getting those fee waivers reimbursed to the town,” Stancil says.
An estimated 141 residents were displaced by the June 30 flood, and Orange County and municipal officials continue to monitor river levels as more rains and storms are expected.