Board ratifies State of Emergency declaration

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LAUDERDALE CO., Miss. (WTOK) - At its first meeting of the year, The Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors ratified and approved the Declaration of State of Emergency due to flooding on December 28.

“That just means as we go out and our workers worked overtime that the state will help us recoup some of that overtime expense, and it could possibly mean other grant money as well,” says Jonathan Wells, the district 1 supervisor and newly elected board president.

The state of emergency will also allow any problems on roadways to be fixed more efficiently.

“It allows us and our road crews to go out and work on those blown out culverts and roadways without actually having to take board action and waiting two or three weeks to get that project done, those are states of emergency,” Wells explains. “That allows our workers to go out right then and work on those problems.”

The roads that were temporarily closed due to flooding have now reopened in Lauderdale County and are safe to drive over. Officials still advise drivers to use caution while crossing those roads due to the possibility of potholes and loose gravel.

“The problem is that we can’t re-cap those bridges right away because those roads are going to settle, that dirt’s going to settle, so we’re going to have to continuously over the next month or two go back in there, re-shape the gravel and the dirt that’s on top because they’re going to sink in, they’re going to create little potholes, so we’ll have to fix those over the next couple of months, revisit those sites until they’re reading to re-cap,” Wells says.

For the Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency (LEMA), the declaration will allow them to accomplish more than what is usual under routine situations.

“If it’s a health or a safety hazard, we are allowed to go on private property if it means that we can eliminate that hazard to the public,” says John Williamson, the director for LEMA.

Officials say that Lauderdale County's damages alone will not meet the requirements for federal aid; however, all Mississippi counties combined may meet that threshold.