NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A serious dilemma is facing commissioner courts of counties that were in the path of Tropical Storm Bill last week.
The questions is how to pay for the damages left behind. Nacogdoches County officials have no simple answer.
The number of closed roads by high water and damages in Nacogdoches County is down to three, but the number of needed repairs on almost 50 roads climbs. So does the cost, said Precinct 4 County Commissioner Elton Milstead.
"I would say $2 million is a pretty good estimate," Milstead said. "We had done a tremendous amount of temporary repairs from the first rains in May and then those repairs got washed away again with the heavy rains when Bill came through. It's kinda like you take one step and slide back two"
On July 1st, Nacogdoches County will meet with FEMA. The agency has already announced Nacogdoches County qualifies for public assistance for the May event. They'll ask, can June's expenses be added?
"It's not clear yet whether FEMA is going to try to separate Tropical Storm Bill into a separate incident, or if it will carry on to the May severe weather event," said Tara Triana, Nacogdoches County's emergency management coordinator.
Milstead said he prefers it to be all inclusive. Commissioners want to avoid dipping into reserve funding or summer maintenance funds. It's unlikely that will happen. Even if approved, federal funding takes time and repairs are needed now.
"That's on us," Milstead said. "It's not something we can wait a year to do."
The court has no choice to wait for the water to subside. One road near Etoile remains open, but water continues to flow across it in some places, making it risky for motorists to cross. Those who do travel to the road's end will find it submerged in Sam Rayburn Reservoir.
Take a look at the level of Rayburn at the State Highway 103 bridge.
Boaters, even in small fishing boats, have to duck as they go under. Larger boats can't even pass because the lake level is too high.
Emergency management coordinators are told by the Corps of Engineers that careful measures must be taken in releasing the water as rivers and lakes downriver continue to rise.