Morgan County not receiving disaster funding after last week’s tornado

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PRICEVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The cleanup in Priceville continues after a tornado ripped through the small community last week.  Despite leaving quite the mess behind, the damage wasn’t significant enough to qualify for federal disaster funding.

“There were three mobile homes that were affected. One was completely off it’s foundation, and there were two other mobile homes, one no one lived in, and one has been moved over to another mobile home,” says Morgan County EMA Director Eddie Hicks.

He estimates another 20 homes saw some sort of damage. “It’s a large deal to us, and it’s even longer if it’s my property that was affected, but you’re looking at an eight mile track and then when you mainly look at the structures, you’re looking at no more than 60 structures that were affected in that whole track,” says Hicks.

Morgan County EMA is now turning to the Volunteer Center of Morgan County for assistance.  “You can simply call and say, ‘I need assistance in getting debris either picked up or even cut,’ because some of that could happen there,” says Hicks.

Those with roof damage should consult their insurance agency. If they aren’t covered, he recommends still giving the Volunteer Center a call.  “If someone needs maybe a shed rebuilt and they just don’t have the funds, then talk to them and that would be the point we’ll try to find further assistance for those people,” he says.

The Volunteer Center of Morgan County says it will work with local organizations to lend out some southern hospitality, however it can.  “It just shows how great it is to live in the South,” says Hicks.

Priceville has set up a drop off location for tree limbs only. Any other kind of debris should be taken to the Morgan County landfill in Decatur.

If you’d like to contact the Volunteer Center of Morgan County, you can call them at (256) 355-8628.

How Disaster Funding is Determined

Morgan County EMA Director Eddie Hicks says there’s a certain threshold you have to reach, just to be able to apply for federal disaster relief funding. “Usually you have to build the case that you need assistance from the federal government, and in this case, we were not even near being able to start the process of even looking to see,” he says.

Removal costs would have to exceed $100,000, and that’s just to be considered. “Even if we achieved that, does not mean that we could be able to even get the grant,” says Hicks.

Even if a disaster area is declared, that doesn’t mean local governments are off the hook.  “Nothing is free, even if it’s federal money. Someone has to pay a percentage, they normally pay about 75 percent of the cost. The local government has to come up with at least 25 percent of that,’ he says.

It can be a complicated process, only proving that once the dark clouds have passed, the work begins for those with damage, and the EMA officials behind the scene.