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|Vidalia 2011 flood costs total $2.5 million|
A year ago, the Town of Vidalia was trying to save its convention center and businesses on the riverfront as a 500-year flood sent the Mississippi out of its banks to a record 61.9 feet on May 18.
Today, the town is working to recover the $2.5 million it spent to save the buildings and infrastructure from flood waters and later to clean up the mess.
"It's a strain on our general fund," according to Mayor Hyram Copeland, "but it was worth it to save these businesses and the 400 jobs they provide our community."
According to City Manager Ken Walker, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has reimbursed Vidalia $952,325 of the $2,538,423 it spent to save the riverfront and for recovery work afterward.
He said FEMA will reimburse only 75 cents for every dollar the town spent.
Copeland said the town "is very fortunate that we had the money in the general fund to pay all of the vendors who helped us save the riverfront. Everyone has been paid and we're very proud of that."
He said it's "totally amazing that we were able to keep the flood waters out of those buildings. We've been criticized by some for spending the money for this, but if you bring in business and industry you have to protect it."
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