News

December storm causes $20 million in damages

By CHARLIE BERMANT

Kitsap County Writer

As the water has receded, it appears the Dec. 3 rainstorm swept at least $20 million in damages down the drain, according to preliminary reports.

Susan May, a spokeswoman for the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management (DEM) said that damage to public property was estimated at around $18 million. This was split evenly between unincorporated county land and that within city boundaries.

May said that damage to private property had not yet been determined.

President George W. Bush’s designation of the region as a disaster area last week opened the floodgates of federal money for reconstruction.

While 200 roads throughout the county were affected at one time or another, May named the Chico Bridge, Illahee Road and Brownsville Highway as the top three sites in need of extensive recovery.

In all cases, it will be several months before the roads are repaired (although the funds will be expedited if safety is at stake).

After the final numbers are submitted, the damage inspection will be conducted by a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) team, who will make a determination.

May said this could be for less — or even more — than the damage request.

A FEMA recovery team is usually made up of three members:a FEMA staff person, a state representative familiar with economic development issues and a state representative assigned to Emergency Management who works at a Joint Field Office or Disaster Recovery Center.

“At this point we are waiting to see whether we will get assistance for individuals,” May said. “The president hasn’t approved that yet.”

Estimates for loss of individual property hover around $5 million although May said “we’re still collecting data.”

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