Somerset County Economic Development Commission
Somerset County
Somerset County, Maryland
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County OKs redirection of Sandy recovery funds
August 22, 2018
County OKs redirection of Sandy recovery funds

By Richard Crumbacker

Crisfield-Somerset County Times

PRINCESS ANNE — Changes to how superstorm Sandy recovery funds will be spent in the coming months were approved by the County Commissioners and will be the subject of two public hearings by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

The most expensive is $200,000 for dredging of Sheep Pen Gut at Rhodes Point — a project for which the Department of Natural Resources will spend an equal amount.

The Army Corps of Engineers will be dredging the channel this fall to finalize its installation of two jetties and a stone sill. It is hoped that the state will expedite a permit for the additional work so the contractor can dredge the entire area at one time to save on mobilization costs.

Gary Pusey, director of the Somerset County Department of Technical Services, said the funding for this is part of the $462,300 returned by the Corps when it determined the restoration of Great Point and the Crisfield tidal dike were too costly.

Mr. Pusey also advised the commissioners that with the state extending broadband into Somers Cove Marina, it would be appropriate to step back on the Crisfield broadband extension project and instead review internet needs across the county.

To do that, $100,000 will be set aside for a study, estimated to cost between $30 and $50,000. The balance remaining will be used if feasible to extend fiber cable to the Broadway water tower and possibly establish citywide internet service.

Also in Crisfield, hurricane funding was used to purchase a new generator for the city’s Maryland Avenue well. Due to the actual well depth being different than specifications in city records, the generator was found to be inadequately sized.

The commissioners approved the purchase of a new generator and the relocation of the former generator to the Deal Island- Chance Volunteer Fire Company. This $100,000 expense will be covered by the economic development loan proceeds repaid by businesses over the last several years.

Millions of dollars in Sandy recovery funds have been used for housing and economic development, and infrastructure improvements. When a house being built on Champ Road is completed that will mark 25 replacement houses built around the county through the government program That means the three houses the county purchased as temporary shelter for displaced families will no longer be needed. Mr. Pusey with county approval will investigate either selling these properties or donating them to a qualified non-profit to provide housing services for those in need.

During the county’s public hearing Aug. 7, Mr. Pusey said each of these requests received informal approval from state leaders but the final decision will be after hearings to be scheduled by the DHCD. One of those will be held in Princess Anne.

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