SAN AUGUSTINE COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - San Augustine County is dealing with mounting storm damage costs, primarily from water-worn roads and deteriorating metal culverts.
Since the beginning of its fiscal year, the county has spent $3,778,472.51. That's according to information presented at Tuesday's Commissioners Court meeting.
"They are working with us to get all our paperwork in for disaster relief," shared San Augustine Judge Samye Johnson during the meeting about efforts underway to recoup some of the expenses the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief funding programs.
And any money the county can recover will be a big help. All four precincts currently have at least one road underwater.
Precinct 4 Commissioner David McEachern said, "I got 4, I believe, underwater right now."
"I have one road under water right now," echoed Precinct 2 Commissioner Edward Wilson.
The storms have hit Precinct 2 Commissioner Ed Wilson's area hard.
"I've been on the county commission for 25 years and this is the first time we've had this type of water,” Wilson explained from one bridge building project off Crockett Street in his precinct. “This creek crossing has washed out 3 or 4 times since I've been commissioner. And the only thing that's going to solve this problem is the bridge, which we're putting in right now."
The 20-foot bridge installation took about 5 days at a cost of $25,000. Wilson said a similar project will take place on County Road 202. A 30-foot bridge is planned for this deteriorating culvert crossing, with an estimated cost of $30,000.
For freshman commissioner Stanley Jackson of Precinct 1, he only has one road still slightly under water.
"I can show you another up here that we've got under water on it,” Jackson said while heading toward a more problematic area on County Road 136. "I've had a lot of experience in road work, but I tell you what, all these floods are a learning experience."
Jackson began his duties as Precinct 1 Commissioner on June 1st, that's right after the storms the week of Memorial Day. However, he has more than 30 years' experience in road maintenance.
His learning experience on CR 136 is the ongoing challenge of heavy rains knocking over trees and debris, which block culverts causing them to overflow; and those waters then flooding roads and washing away the rocks recently laid down on the road to keep them passable.
"It's a costly project, but what we're trying to do is salvage what we can to save the county money," Jackson said assuredly.
Since September, the county has spent $3,778,000 and counting on 95 damaged roads, 9 washed-away culverts and 6 damaged culverts.
And there are still several roads and culverts still to be assessed.