NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Regional government leaders have this year's recovery from spring floods on their minds, but the action taken Thursday by the Deep East Texas Council of Governments dealt with Hurricane Ike funding.
You'll remember that's a weather event from 2008. However, a connection can still be drawn between the two disasters.
East Texas regional leaders learned from Hurricane Ike to expect a long wait for funding assistance from any disaster. Seven years after Ike, three East Texas cities and three counties are still receiving Ike funding.
"We are reallocating funds for Hurricane Ike recovery for communities who are still providing infrastructure improvements to their communities, so we got a little over a half a million dollars today," said Walter Diggles, the executive director of DETCOG.
Electrical improvements, generators, water wells, and street improvements are on the list. Jasper County Judge Mark Allen will be accepting $200,000 for a disaster shelter.
"It is a necessity, so we are going through with it," said Jasper County Judge Mark Allen Our commissioners court worked diligently to try to get this constructed and get this planned properly."
Another lesson from past disasters is documentation. Leaders heard several times the importance of photographing and recording every expense encountered during the two spring flooding events. Even more difficult is proving what damage happened in May and what occurred in June.
"The state prefers that it be all handled together. FEMA, at the regional level, prefers it be handled together," Allen said. "However, in Washington they prefer it be two separate events."
Bureaucracy is the other constant. Leaders are most thankful for the help, but often grow discouraged by the process.
Diggles said populated areas often get more attention than rural areas when damages occur.
He said DETCOG's representation of a region, that's also well-populated, is helpful when applying for funding.
The reminder - damage is all relative to the area where it occurs.