CHIPLEY - With some parts of roads washed out in up to 12 inches of rainwater, area residents made pleas for assistance during a Washington County Board of County Commissioners meeting held Jan. 24.
"We need your help, desperately," said Gayle Carlo. "We need you to be our champions."
Residents of the Rolling Pines neighborhood filled the boardroom to voice their concerns. According to their accounts, flooding has caused one person to move, another to park his vehicle at his neighbor's house on higher ground, and, overall, people are afraid that all of the inaccessibility will obstruct emergency services from being able to reach them should an emergency arise.
While the county is laying millings as fast as they can get them in an attempt to keep the roads passable, the continued rainfall and rising waters are proving to be a formidable foe.
"We are in constant contact with state and federal officials to keep it fresh in their minds the seriousness of the issue," said Hawkins. "We are working with the power companies to make sure sandbags are in place to keep transformers safe. We are also working with local contractors to provide millings to keep the road built up. These millings will allow for ingress and egress to homes and enable emergency services access should it be needed. The county is doing everything in its power to ensure the area is not forgotten."
The county is working with state and federal officials to aide in a resolution due to the county not being in a financial position to repair the issues solely themselves, especially now having to cover disaster related costs from Hurricane Michael.
Commissioner Steve Joyner says the issues facing the county now are reminiscent of the 1994 flooding that ravaged Caryville.
"It hasn't been too many years ago that we faced this same situation in Caryville," said Joyner. "The federal government had to step in to help us then and we need them to help us now."
In response to the flooding problem, Florida Department of Health in Washington County issued an advisory on what residents should do to keep safe and warning them not to use contaminated water in any way.
"Due to heavy rainfall in the southeastern portion of Washington County significant flooding in the area has occurred. Although skin contact with flood waters does not, by itself, pose a serious health risk, health hazards are a concern when waters become contaminated," the release stated. "Flood waters may contain waste material with associated bacteria and viruses."
Other items at the Jan. 24 WCBOCC meeting:
The board approved two land use changes. The first is for a 3.4 acre of land located at 2152 Highway 77. The property was designated agriculture/silviculture but will now be designated as general commercial.
The second amendment to the land use map is for a parcel of land located at 900 Nearing Hills Road. The former designation is was low density residential and was changed to medium density residential.
County Engineer Cliff Knauer updated commissioners on the progress of the Cope Road resurfacing project. The project is set to go to bid this week to begin construction on the road.
Knauer also advised the permits from Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corp of Engineers are expected in the next few weeks so work can begin on the Culpepper Landing refurbishing project.
The Clerk of Court was approved to pay vouchers for the month of December totaling $1,576,709.39.
Washington County Board of County Commissioners will meet again in workshop at 9 a.m. on February 13.