Flood victims urged to apply for federal disaster relief

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BREATHITT COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Three flood damaged counties in Eastern Kentucky received money Thursday to fix damaged roads. Governor Andy Beshear visited those counties to hand deliver the checks and urge Kentuckians to apply for federal disaster aid.

Nine counties in all are eligible for the relief.

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Patricia Fugate, a Breathitt County native, who hopes she’ll get the help she desperately needs soon.

“I’m the kind of person that don’t like to ask for help,” Fugate said. But when flood waters destroyed much of her home, she was left with few options.

“It’s just a slow process of getting it put back,” Fugate said. “I had to cut walls out. I had to throw almost all of my furniture away.”

Fugate says the community rallied around her, allowing her and her grandkids to get back on their feet. Now, with the hope of getting federal help soon, she can breathe easier.

“If I do get it, it would mean FEMA cares about our county and it would help me do the work to my trailer that I need,” Fugate said.

Beshear visited Breathitt County Thursday to remind Kentuckians to apply for the federal relief as soon possible.

“You probably spent, already, a decent amount of money digging yourself out,” Beshear said. “You can use this to make sure you’re not going into debt and that you’re moving forward.”

Beshear also presented checks that would improve roads with major issues, including near schools.

“I don’t know if I can put into words what it means to me,” Jeff Noble, Breathitt County Judge Executive, said. “We’ve still got roads that have got washed out there in the flood that we still haven’t been able to get on and fix the way they need to be. Some of them are about impassable.”

“We’re just very thankful for the help,” Breathitt County Schools Superintendent Phillip Watts said. “We hope that by working together that our people are recovering and rebounding and will build back better than ever.

That’s something Fugate is hopeful for.

Beshear says he requested more flood damaged counties be added to the list, but for now, those in those nine counties have until June 23rd to apply.

ORIGINAL STORY BELOW:

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — Three Eastern Kentucky counties received transportation funding and sales tax relief is in place for property owners in nine counties impacted by severe weather earlier this year.

Gov. Andy Beshear visited Floyd, Magoffin and Breathitt counties Thursday to discuss state and federal assistance after all were affected by severe storms, flooding and mudslides Feb. 27–March 14.

The governor was joined by his senior advisor, Rocky Adkins, Kentucky Emergency Management officials, Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives and local officials at each location.

President Biden granted a Major Disaster Declaration for the Commonwealth of Kentucky on Friday, April 23, which made aid available for residents of nine counties: Breathitt, Clay, Estill, Floyd, Johnson, Lee, Magoffin, Martin and Powell. To learn more about how individuals and business owners can apply, see the full release.

Wednesday, the state asked FEMA to add 26 more counties to the declaration. FEMA will determine each additional county’s eligibility to participate over the next several weeks.

Residents with additional reports of flood damage should contact their local county emergency management agency.

The Governor said as a result of the Major Disaster Declaration, Kentuckians in the included counties may also be eligible for state disaster relief in the form of sales tax refunds on purchases of building materials, up to $6,000 per building.

The materials must be used to permanently repair or replace building structures.

To learn more about how to apply for a sales tax refund, visit the Department of Revenue’s website. Individuals in need of more personalized assistance may call 502-564-5170 and select Option 1 to speak to a member of the Revenue staff.

In Floyd County, the governor awarded $200,000 for design and construction of an extended turn lane and an “R-cut” – Restricted Crossing U-Turn – on Kentucky Highway 114 at Prestonsburg Elementary School. An R-cut is an intersection design that eliminates the need for making a left turn against traffic. Instead, traffic flows a little farther downstream and then executes a legal U-turn.

Beshear also presented $361,000 in transportation funding to the Floyd County Fiscal Court for badly needed resurfacing on four county roads (CR 1617, Emma Road; CR 1018, Happy Hollow Road; CR 1945, Mud Lick Branch; and CR 1169, Henpen Branch Road).

The projects will total about 3.5 miles in length, allowing easier and more efficient travel for many Floyd County residents. This funding is administered by the Department of Rural and Municipal Aid in the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

The Governor awarded $761,257 in transportation funding to the Magoffin County Fiscal Court for critical resurfacing on a dozen different sections of county roads. Altogether the projects total 8.7 miles of new surfacing to make for easier and more efficient travel.

The projects will be along 12 sections of nine different county routes: County Road 1174 (Willow Drive, Front Street, Tommy Dyer Street and Charlie Prater Street); CR 1144 (Scranton Road); CR 1251 (West Puncheon Creek Road); CR 1110 (Big Lick Road); CR 1035 (Painters Creek Road); CR 1227 (John Howard Road); CR 1169 (Jim Arnett Branch); and CR 1368 (Holderby Branch Road).

In Breathitt County, the Governor awarded $356,021 of transportation funding to the Breathitt County Fiscal Court for badly needed resurfacing on two county routes – Barwick Road and Watts Road.

The two projects combined add up to 3.5 miles of new surfacing to make for easier and more efficient travel in areas where there have been many complaints. The funding is administered by the Department of Rural and Municipal Aid in the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Also in Breathitt County, the Governor awarded $140,000 to make safety improvements at the intersection of Kentucky Highways 15 and 476, which is near two schools – Marie Roberts-Caney Elementary School and Riverside Christian School. KYTC engineers plan to explore a number of possible improvements, which could include improved signage, pavement striping, rebuilt or updated school beacons and guardrail work.