Following considerable rainfall and flooding in May, Butte County roads and bridges suffered extreme damage. This damage prompted county commissioners to declare an emergency in the area to bring federal relief funding to offset infrastructure repair costs, reports the Black Hills Pioneer.
According to the Rapid City National Weather Service, Belle Fourche received 5.5 inches of rain in May, leading to damage and loss of infrastructure. The county has already committed its available resources to recovery efforts and taken action within its jurisdiction, but the resolution passed last week asserts that local resources will not be sufficient. Auditor Elaine Jensen said that this resolution is the first step in requesting assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The declaration must first pass through Governor Noem’s office, which would need to declare Butte County and emergency area.
The Butte County Commission voted unanimously to adopt the resolution to seek federal disaster relief funds. The commission also adopted a five-year hazard mitigation plan, prepared by the Black Hills Council of Local Governments, which is a first step to lessen the impact of disasters on communities. A federal disaster declaration was previously approved for 58 counties and three reservations in South Dakota, however, Butte County was not originally among them.
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