Dr. Scott Alsobrooks , Guest Columnist
The Picayune Item
Now that Hurricane Isaac has made his slow, deliberate move through Pearl River County it appears to have left quite a mark. Many of us who have called Picayune, Poplarville or Pearl River County home for most of our lives witnessed unprecedented flood levels of Boley Creek, the Wolf River and the Pearl River. This flooding caused many to have personal losses to their homes and other property. While this disheartening event causes hardship for the victims, the flip side is that the region will benefit from the economic impact of cleaning up the debris and subsequently repairing and rebuilding the damaged property.
Pearl River County awarded a contract for approximately $775,000 for debris removal. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has agreed to pay 75% of this cost, with the county and cities splitting the remaining 25% of their associated costs.
The debris removal and clean up contract has been awarded to a local Pearl River County contractor. This means that many of the federal disaster dollars allocated for this will stay in the local economy. Of course, as homeowners negotiate their damage settlement with their insurance carrier and with FEMA, the repair work will result in an increased demand for construction services which should also have a positive impact on our local economy.
Finally, an area that deserves attention that could have certainly had a detrimental impact to many citizens in the region was the threat of bursting dams and locks. Like the levee systems in South Louisiana that have been blamed for many of the flooding problems during Hurricane Katrina, a serious breach or failure of a lock or dam, like those on those on Pearl and Tangipahoa River will most certainly destroy personal property and threaten lives.
Investing in the maintenance, repair and preservation of these structures will certainly create jobs. In this prolonged economic recessionary period, new jobs are of the utmost need.