Bertie County awarded $6M in Hurricane Matthew cleanup


WINDSOR, Bertie County - Bertie County received $6 million this week for victims of Hurricane Matthew from the NC Emergency Management's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

It is one of the largest grant amounts anywhere in the state, with the town of Windsor being hit particularly hard.

Gov. Roy Cooper was in Bertie County last week, touring Windsor and visiting some of the homeowners and businesses that were the hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew and the flooding that came with it.

According to Bertie County, North Carolina Emergency Management reviewed 3,000 structures within the Hurricane Matthew disaster zone, fewer than 800 qualified for grant funding to help rebuild. Of that total, 55 are in the Windsor area, with the money those property owners will receive going to a "buyout" - either demolition and acquisition of the property or the elevation of the structure to meet updated flood plain guidelines.

The 55 approved properties was slightly more than half of the 102 total submitted by Bertie County and the Town of Windsor, which was seeking $11 million in grant funds. The state is evaluating the properties that didn't make the first cut and will provide funds for approximately another 20 properties depending on the availability of funds in the recently passed state budget.

Bertie County Emergency Services Director Mitch Cooper has proposed doing controlled burns on properties slated for demolition and using that as a fire department training exercise as a way of reducing the cost of demolition and stretching the grant funds further.

Bertie County and Town of Windsor officials met on June 12 to set the plan for evaluating and prioritizing the property projects.