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Help continues for flood survivors

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By LPR Staff

Editor/POST-REGISTER

 

While the residents of River Bend Estates continue to wait for help from Caldwell County and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Caldwell County Commissioners Court continues to look for ways to help property owners affected by the Memorial Weekend Floods to pick up the soaked and shattered rem

nants of their lives.

Several residents of the gated Martindale subdivision approached the Commissioners on Monday morning to ask why debris cleanup in their neighborhood has not yet begun, and to implore the Commissioners to assist them in putting their homes back together.

According to Caldwell County Emergency Management Coordinator Martin Ritchey, debris collection can not take place on private property at this time, but he assured the residents that negotiations continue to ensure FEMA reimbursement for cleanup in the area.

Unlike some other areas affected by the flood, River Bend is a subdivision located on a private road managed by the homeowners association, and not a public roadway. Therefore, there are questions as to whether debris cleanup will be reimbursable.

Ritchey said he expected to take meetings this week with FEMA representatives to discuss the matter, and hopes to have a resolution in the near future,

so cleanup can begin.

In a related item, the Commissioners quickly and unanimously voted to waive residential construction fees, for a period of two years, for all homeowners impacted by the flooding.

Under the Caldwell County Development Ordinance, construction permitting fees are allowed for residences that require up to 30 percent rebuilding as a result of fire or flood. However, the Commissioners said they did not want to compound the losses to flooded homes by charging fees.

In other business, the Commissioners heard a request from the Lockhart Independent School District to waive permitting fees for the construction of Alma Brewer Strawn Elementary School in the Lytton Springs area.

The fees, which could exceed $28,000, are a part of the budget approved in a $63.9 million bond passed by LISD voters last spring. However, the Commissioners opted not to allow any waiver or reduction of those fees.

Commissioner Joe Roland, the representative for the area, noted the waiver of fees would be “double-dipping” for taxpayers, and said LISD should be responsible for fees as set out in the Development Ordinance.

In brief news:

The Commissioner held public hearings regarding the preliminary platting process for three incoming subdivisions, with little commentary from the public.

They heard a presentation from County Auditor Debra French, who requested a policy be put in place for budget amendments, and expenditures over and above the budged amount in certain line items.

The Court voted unanimously to leave the burn ban off for the time being.

The Caldwell County Commissioners Court routinely meets on the second, third and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in the second floor courtroom of the Caldwell County Courthouse. The meetings are open to the public and are webcast at www.co.caldwell.tx.us.

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