Upson County incurred a preliminary total of $100,512.49 for expenses during the ice storm last month, Upson EMA director Martha Anne McCarty told the Board of Commissioners at their regular meeting last week. She noted that hopefully FEMA will be able to reimburse some of the money for expenses if a Presidential declaration is issued as expected.
“The breakdown (of covering the cost) of this is 75 percent from FEMA; 10 percent from GEMA and 15 percent local, which can be covered from in-kind donations,” said McCarty. “I think right off the bat, the volunteer fire departments, with the four we have information from, are going to more than meet that 15 percent for us.”
McCarty told the board the EMA held a debriefing with several key players in the community recently to identify what went well during the storm and what needs to be improved upon. One of the best things from the storm included the National Weather Service briefings that were held prior to the event, giving everyone adequate time to prepare. She continued noting everyone she spoke to during the debriefing was very appreciative of everyone who was involved during the storm, both paid staff and those who volunteered their time.
As with any type of weather-related event, McCarty noted there were several things that will need to be worked on to make things run even more efficiently.
“We identified several things that will need to be implemented and changed, but that’s what an emergency operations plan is all about. It is a living breathing document, and when you use it, the one thing to make sure of is to find something that can be done better than before. Then you tweak it and tune it to make it better. And we do have a list of things that we are going to work diligently on over the next two to four weeks to get the changes made; so in the event anything else happens-like tornado season coming up-we want to be able to respond even better than we did this last go round.”
In other business, County Manager Jim Wheeless told the board he had received two bids for the materials to place fencing around the T-ball fields at the Recreation Department, which is one of the SPLOST projects. The first bid was from Shoops and Son of Decatur, Illinois for $17,308.90 which included the cost of freight to ship the materials here. The other bid was from the National Fence Company, LLC for $24,377.89. Wheeless noted since there was such a large difference in price, he double checked everything with Shoops and Son to make sure they were bidding with commercial grade fencing and the gauge of wire the county had asked for; which they were. He recommended the board they go with Shoops and Son for the materials.
In relation to that project, the county has also held a pre-bid meeting on the installation of the fencing. Wheeless stated four companies attended the meeting and are supposed to have their bids in by 3 p.m. on March 7. The county is also setting up a pre-bid meeting for the SPLOST project of replacing the Civic Center roof. Several recreation league games have been interrupted by leaks in the roof, Wheeless told the board. The pre-bid meeting will be held at 2 p.m. on March 10 for all potential bidders at the Civic Center and bids are due to the county by March 14.
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1