County seeking disaster aid

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Rains wreak havoc on roads

By Martin Salazar

The San Miguel County Commission was scheduled to vote Tuesday on a resolution that would officially declare a disaster for San Miguel County due to flooding rains in July.

The county’s Office of Emergency Management had already submitted a request to the state for help, noting that numerous roads throughout the county were damaged by the heavy rainfall in July. The resolution will merely formalize the request for funding to help the county pay for emergency repairs.

The Office of Emergency Management is also requesting help for the flooding that occurred this past Friday, which, among other things, damaged the County Road 23 bridge. County Road 23 is the road going to McAllister Lake. That disaster declaration, however, wasn’t on the Commission’s agenda because of timing issues.

Emergency Manager Dennis English said a disaster declaration doesn’t guarantee funding for the county. It merely alerts the state to the fact that the county is beyond its capacity of resources and budgeted finances to be able to handle the damage, English said.

Disaster declarations are forwarded to the state Department of Homeland Security. Ultimately, the Governor’s Office decides whether to allocate the emergency funding.

English said roads throughout the county have been damaged by the heavy rains in July. But the declaration specifically lists roads in the Conchas Dam area, the San Rafael area, which is toward Trementina on the east side of the county, and roads in Sabinoso and Gonzales Ranch, which are in the valley area. English said most of those roads are unpaved.