FEMA awards Exeter $34K for flood damage

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

City projects to be completed by January 2021

The city of Exeter has been awarded nearly $35,000 in funds from FEMA for flood damages in the city over the past few years.

Exeter started the process of obtaining FEMA money in 2019, and the deadline to finish FEMA projects is Jan. 9, 2021.

Marissa Robbins, Exeter treasurer, said the process to get the money was extensive.

“We started by going to meetings with FEMA weekly to go though how much money was needed, how much damage there was and the project plans,” she said. “It probably took six months to plan it all out.”

After a year, the money was granted in the amount of $34,901.

“There are three parts to the projects: paving streets, which will cost $26,528; gravel alleyways, which will cost $4,564; and the sewer main project, which will cost $3,809,” Robbins said. “Most of the projects are cold mixing and patching areas, but Valley Street will be completely dug up and replaced.”

Along with Valley Street, extensive damage to Summit Street will also be addressed.

“We have started repairing the sides of roads that were washed out on Roaring River Road,” she said. “The gravel alleyways to Chestnut Street are 75 percent completed.”

Additionally, the sewer main is 75 percent completed.

“The floods washed out a huge sewer main that goes directly into the sewer plant,” Robbins said. “The immediacy is that if we flood again, it would completely wash it out and the main wouldn’t pump into the plant.”

Robbins said when the city applied for the FEMA money, it was given 18 months to complete the work.

“The problem is that FEMA generally refunds the money spent on a project, but we didn’t have the money to spend, so we had to wait for the money to come through,” she said. “Our biggest problem is that we have one guy to take care of all of the city maintainance and water lines.

“The city decided to contract outside labor to help with installing new water meters.”

Robbins said the city is working as hard and as fast as it can to complete the project by the deadline.

“Valley Street will have to be done by a contractor, but everything else will be done in-house,” she said. “We are thankful for the residents’ patience with us at this time.”

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