The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

May 13, 2014

City storm costs at $4.4 million

— The April 28 tornadoes have cost the city of Athens an estimated $4.4 million for cleanup and repairs, Mayor Ronnie Marks said.

Athens Utilities spent roughly $3.4 million of that total restoring power to about 16,000 customers in Athens and Limestone County. The tornadoes destroyed or damaged 450 power poles, including 80 to 90 big poles that take between three and four hours for crews to replace, Marks told City Council members Monday. The rest was spent cleaning up trees and debris inside Athens and for any necessary repairs to city property.

Marks said he expects the Federal Emergency Management Agency to reimburse about 75 percent of the cost or about $3.3 million.

“If we are lucky, we will get 80 to 85 percent back,” he said.

The city’s General Fund will pay $300,000 of the $1.1 million in unreimbursed costs and Athens Utilities will pay $800,000, City Clerk Annette Barnes said.

The estimate could increase over the coming months, as final costs are tabulated.  

Burn or grind?

In other storm-related business, council members authorized the Public Works Department to seek bids on disposing of the vast amounts of vegetation collected after the April 28 storms.

Sanitation Director Earl Glaze said the city would seek bids on burning or grinding the vegetation. The project would be paid for with city money and FEMA reimbursement money.

Helping those who help

Athens Utilities General Manager Gary Scroggins sought and received permission to allow volunteers from Habitat for Humanity harvest aluminum from power lines downed by the April 28 storms. The volunteers would put the harvested metal pieces on a scrap truck, which would take the metal to a scrap dealer, Scroggins said. Athens Utilities would pay the hauler and the volunteers a portion of the price it receives for the scrap metal, he said.

Law enforcement officials have been patrolling areas where lines are down to prevent people from scavenging them. Scroggins said the lines are city property and anyone caught trying to harvest them could be prosecuted.

Council members agreed and thanked Scroggins for helping the local group, which helps those in need of housing.

Text Only
Local News


Do you agree with the U.S. House’s decision to sue President Obama?

     View Results
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee