An executive order signed Thursday by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham set aside nearly $1 million in flood relief for Eddy County.
She signed three executive orders declaring states of emergency in Eddy and Valencia counties, as well as the City of Belen, read a news release from the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM).
Each executive order provides up to $750,000 for the DHSEM to assist with public recovery efforts organized by city and county officials. Additionally, the declarations for Eddy and Valencia counties mean that affected localities within these counties could also be eligible for state assistance, the news release indicated.
In the disaster declaration, Lujan Grisham noted Eddy County was severely impacted by flooding due to a monsoon rain event from June 27 through June 30, with more rain received through July 5.
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The governor said heavy rainfall overwhelmed drainage systems in Eddy County, per the disaster declaration.
“The local declarations of disaster issued by Eddy County note that all local resources available have been insufficient to cope with the resulting situation and request aid, assistance, relief programs and funding from the State of New Mexico,” she wrote in the declaration.
The governor’s declaration came three days after the Carlsbad City Council passed a resolution declaring a local flooding disaster. Eddy County’s Board of County Commissioners declared a similar flood declaration July 6.
“These declarations will help our local governments implement critical response and recovery efforts to keep their communities safe,” said DHSEM Secretary Bianca Ortiz-Wertheim in the news release. “For one, these funds can help repair damaged roads, bridges, sewage systems, and other infrastructure that residents and businesses need to thrive.”
Moving forward, she said DHSEM will continue to work closely with city and county officials, as well as local non-government organizations and federal partners.
“We look forward to a coordinated and effective recovery,” she said.
New Mexico Lt. Gov. Howie Morales met with Carlsbad and Eddy County officials on July 9 and toured damaged low-water crossings in the City of Carlsbad.
“Eddy County’s declaration included both Carlsbad and Artesia. The City of Carlsbad is still in the process of working out the details at this time as this declaration relates to us. Certainly, any and all emergency relief is welcome,” said Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway.
Eddy County Manager Allen Davis said the State’s declaration provided an opportunity to petition the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for federal funding to support recovery and repair efforts.
“The declarations would provide the cities in the County the opportunity to petition DHSEM and FEMA if their needs require that type of funding,” he said.
“At this time, Eddy County has not solicited funds from DHSEM. The County is wrapping up assessment and evaluation efforts to determine the costs and needs for repairs.”
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Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.