Hurricane-hit counties blame Gov. Cooper's office for slow recovery

View The Original Article Here

— State representatives from counties still dealing with devastation from two hurricanes are blaming Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration.

According to Senator Tom Tillis, county leaders want to know why North Carolina has received close to $3 billion in federal and state funds to recover from Hurricane Matthew and Florence, yet only 7 percent has been spent in the past 500 days.

On Wednesday, state representatives from some of the hardest hit counties — including Jones County, Robeson County and Columbus County — discussed their recovery efforts. Officials said residents feel abandoned for not receiving recovery funds in a decent amount of time.

Tillis used South Carolina, another hard hit area, as a comparison, asking how and why that state can allocate recovery funds in a decent amount of time compared to North Carolina. In a press release issued Wednesday, Tillis said he has plans to file a bill called The Ensuring Disaster Recovery For Local Communities Act, which will “address the unacceptably slow distribution of federal assistance and take concrete steps to empower local communities.”

In saturated Lumberton, worries about the next storm

“Why isn’t that money flowing sooner? That’s the question we’re asking,” Tillis said on Wednesday at the North Carolina General Assembly. “There may be a legitimate answer for a portion of it, but it’s hard to believe that it would be for all of it.”

With hurricane season underway and Tropical Storm Dorian threatening Florida, the conversation is timely.

Farmers struggle but are thankful after Hurricane Florence