Washington Co. officials nearing the end of flood funds

SOUTH WASHINGTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Washington County commissioners are running out of money to buy fuel and other materials they need to pump floodwater out of the Pine Ridge Drive area.

The water has been receding every day since JEA crews installed pumps in December.

“We were all ecstatic because that was the first time we ever saw something of that magnitude being done and it provided a whole lot of hope for us,” Pine Ridge Drive resident Mike West said.

The water level has dropped 10-12 inches. But without money, county officials might have to turn off the pumps.

“If they were going to shut down the pump, that’s just disastrous in our opinion,” West said.

Because of the flooding, Washington County has been under a local state of emergency for about 13 weeks.

Mr. West said he and many other residents left Tuesday’s commission meeting feeling reassured.

County officials said they are talking to state agencies to find money and answers to solve the problem.

“We have a conference call today with DEM, with Kevin Guthrie and his office, looking for any funding mechanism that we have that we could put a contract in place for a larger pump to move a larger quantity of water,” County Commission Chairman Tray Hawkins said.

Hawkins said they’re also working against nature.

They’re worried a large rainstorm will undo everything they’ve accomplished so far.

“Now, I understand they’re looking for more funding, I just hope they’re successful,” West said.

Hawkins said state agencies have been very cooperative and he is hopeful for future plans.

Residents of this area have the option to apply for a buyout plan. Call (850) 638-6200 and ask for the “Grants Department.”