Small city hopes for state, federal funding after significant storm damage

FOX24

The Cave Springs Mayor said, "This is a lot bigger part of our budget than it would be on a much bigger city."

CAVE SPRINGS, Ark. (KFTA) — After powerful storms left parts of Benton County in pieces, repair costs are adding up for effected communities.

The city of Cave Springs is still littered with trees and debris weeks after two tornadoes rolled through the area.

“The storm damage and getting roads clear and people able to come and go easily is top priority right now,” said Mayor Randall Noblett.

The clean up comes with a hefty price tag, so Mayor Noblett said he’s requesting all the funding he can—both from the state and the federal government.

He said, “This is a lot bigger part of our budget than it would be on a much bigger city.”

The mayor is taking both the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and FEMA to the hardest-hit areas of the city.

“We keep records, we take pictures, we do the things they require but then they’ll evaluate each one and determine what qualifies, what doesn’t,” he said.

This destruction—making the mayor confident the city will get some type of reimbursement.

He said, “He recognized a lot of damage and so I’m hopeful we’ll get substantial assistance but time will tell.”

While Benton County has signed a disaster declaration—which makes individual projects in the county eligible for reimbursement—it’s not guaranteed each project will receive full funding.

The state can reimburse up to 35 percent of each project and FEMA can reimburse up to 65 percent.

“It may mean some priorities change and that a little bit of the money that was in the street program from one project may get shifted more to the cleanup,” said Mayor Noblett.

Crews in Cave Springs are continuing to clean up leftover debris, which could take another three weeks, and it’ll be expensive.

“We will be fine,” said Mayor Noblett. “It’s just a matter of managing things and we’re doing that.”

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