Dare County sets budget for post-Irene cleanup

By on September 6, 2011

Colington Drive as the water rose Aug. 27. (Paige O'Dell)

Exact figures are not in yet, but the county has created a budget of up to $2.2 million to cover the costs of recovery from Hurricane Irene.

Most of the money will come from state and federal sources with as much as $250,000 drawn from a reserve set aside in the Dare County budget specifically for emergencies such as hurricanes.

Finance Director Dave Clawson said the county, by law, needed to put together a budget and that the figure should not be considered an estimate.

But County Manager Bobby Outten said the costs probably would not exceed the $2.2 million put on paper and approved by the Board for Commissioners Tuesday. The bulk of the money will go toward picking up debris.

For comparison, Clawson’s figures showed Hurricane Isabel cost about $8.7 million in federal, state and county money.

A little over $741,000 is in the disaster recovery fund, he reported.

Meanwhile, Outten told the commissioners that emergency ferries began running again from Stumpy Point at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday after the state Department of Transportation fixed a damaged beam on the loading ramp.

With N.C. 12 severed by two new inlets, the ferries are the only access to Hatteras Island from the mainland. Since the hurricane swept through Aug. 26 and 27, they have been shuttling emergency workers and supplies from Stumpy Point.

Starting Tuesday, residents and insurance company representatives were being allowed to ride the ferries back starting Tuesday.

Emergency Manager Sandy Sanderson said that power is back up except for a few pockets on Hatteras Island, medical services are functioning and public safety operations are in place.

Parts of N.C. 12 that were not torn up by the breaches were passable to all vehicles the second day after the hurricane, he said.

All of the commissioners were complimentary of workers and volunteers who have helped in the recover and of Dare County citizens who have shown resilience and unity after the storm.

Irene was a Category 1 hurricane when the center passed to the west of the Outer Banks. Storm surge pushed sound waters westward, then back to the east and into the back of the barrier islands, causing flooding from Hatteras Village to Corolla.

The flooding was described by many as the worst in decades.

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