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FEMA Denial Means Mayes Co. Repairs Will Wait

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In May, a storm dumped as much as seven inches of rain an hour in the county. In May, a storm dumped as much as seven inches of rain an hour in the county.
Overall, damage is estimated at $2.3 million in Mayes County alone. Overall, damage is estimated at $2.3 million in Mayes County alone.
"The $100,000 for over $2.3 million is just a drop in the bucket," said Mayes County Emergency Management's Michael Dunham. "The $100,000 for over $2.3 million is just a drop in the bucket," said Mayes County Emergency Management's Michael Dunham.

By Craig Day, The News On 6

PRYOR, OK -- An area hit hard by incredible rainfall this past spring has been left high and dry by FEMA.  The storm took a toll on roads and bridges in Mayes County after record setting rain caused flooding.  But, FEMA has denied disaster assistance for the area, which is not good news for county leaders dealing with cash strapped budgets.

05/01/2009 Related Story: Flooding Causing Concerns In Pryor

Several months after historic spring storms, there are still plenty of signs of the aftermath in Mayes County.

"This wasn't designed to take that much water all at once," said Mayes County Emergency Management's Michael Dunham.

For about four months, a bridge near Locust Grove has been in need of repairs.

"These economic times we're in, no one has the extra money to be spending on bridges," said Mayes County Emergency Management's Michael Dunham.

In May of this year, a storm dumped as much as seven inches of rain an hour in the county.

"It hit everybody in Mayes County," said Mayes County Emergency Management's Michael Dunham.

But, FEMA has now denied a request for help, saying state and local governments should be able to handle the cleanup without federal help.

"The county commissioners were counting on that money big time, obviously this bridge, over $700,000 in damage to repair it, that's an awful lot of money just to repair a bridge and they don't have the money allocated for something of this magnitude," said Mayes County Emergency Management's Michael Dunham.

Overall, damage is estimated at $2.3 million in Mayes County alone.  To make matters worse, without the federal help and without the county dollars available to fix the damage, everyone will have to wait a bit longer.  The longer you wait, the more the road and bridge deteriorate.  The more they deteriorate, the more expensive this project becomes in the long run.

"We don't even have the money just to even do the repairs to slow down the erosion.  Because, as you can see, chunks of it have just fallen off and more chunks will probably fall off," said Mayes County Emergency Management's Michael Dunham.

Mayes County is getting some help from the state, but without FEMA, emergency management workers say it isn't nearly enough.

"The $100,000 for over $2.3 million is just a drop in the bucket," said Mayes County Emergency Management's Michael Dunham.

FEMA would have provided 75% of the storm damage costs, with the state covering 12.5% and the local municipalities responsible for the rest.

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