Commissioners Ratify Declaration of Disaster; Judge Encourage Patience

June 7, 2024 - The Shelby County Commissioners agreed during their Friday, June 7, 2024 meeting at 9am to ratify the Declaration of Disaster Judge Allison Harbison put in place on June 2, 2024.

“I really think that Roscoe and y'all just made the point that we should ratify this because he said he's just found things that he didn't know. He's already found more damage that he didn't even realize was [there],” said Judge Harbison. “So we'll need to ratify this to be able to carry on because it's only for seven days and I signed it on Sunday.” 

With no explanation necessary, and no reservations either, Judge Harbison explained the declaration is extendable and stays in effect until they decide to call it off. 

“We’ve never even called the one off we had earlier in the year on the flooding in Joaquin, because it was going to crest and they were afraid it was going to flood again down there. So it will stay in effect until we call it off,” said Judge Harbison. 

Commissioner Tom Bellmyer moved to ratify the disaster declaration, and his motion was seconded by Commissioner Roscoe McSwain, the motion carried.

Commissioner McSwain elaborated on the situation the commissioners are facing for the knowledge of the citizens, “We’ve gotta wait until the water comes running down the road before we do the repairs, and a lot of repairs we've got to do are very substantial, and it's gonna take time.”

He stated in relation to normal operations that the damages and repair work are going to set them back months.

“It's gonna stop our normal repairs and upgrades because repairs we've got to make are going to take a long time,” said McSwain.

McSwain explained they have to document all of the damage, which includes taking photographs as they work with Texas Department of Emergency Management in formulating assessments. A lot of work can’t move forward until it’s been completely documented to receive monetary support in the future.

“We are trying to get some monies and resources from the Texas Department of Emergency Management, and that takes time because they want pictures, they want descriptions, they want road numbers, they want estimations. And so, that's what they've been working on all week, and I really commend the commissioners for working so hard this week. First of all, to make sure everybody can get out and get to work, and second of all, to work with TDEM and the emergency manager to get the paperwork done so we can go out for money,” said Judge Harbison.
Commissioner Jimmy Lout thanked all of the fire departments for their support and assistance, he commented that at one time he had three fire departments (Shelbyville VFD, Huxley VFD and Center FD) working to help in his area.

“I know of some instances where people were caught between trees and the fire department and local citizens, helped. So we really do appreciate everybody's help during the storms, but now we would really appreciate their patience because this might have happened overnight or over two days, but it can’t be fixed overnight. So we'd really ask for their patience and we want them to know that we are working very hard, the district’s working very hard to get the roads intact and get them passable.” 

Judge Harbison suggested that for the time being citizens should drive around any issues like pot holes or road concerns that have already been in their road for months, because more recently in contract people haven’t been able to get to work due to the challenges they have faced in their roads.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:08am.

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