Claremore Daily Progress


September 9, 2012

Helm double dips with double chip

FEMA funds repair roadway twice despite guidelines



In a letter dated Sept. 26, 2011, Shannon Sheffert, ODOT local government division engineer, outlined the roads that were submitted to FEMA and the proposed damage.
Sheffert included a recommendation of action to provide assistance for the roads.
“We looked at several roads in District 2 and determined that several were damaged by the snowstorm event and several others were also damaged by the snow, but they had the road surface was poor or damaged prior to the storm event and were not eligible for FEMA repair funds,” according to Sheffert’s letter.
The majority of the roads Sheffert reviewed were “in my [Sheffert] opinion is not eligible for reimbursement.”
However, FEMA did provide reimbursement for roadwork. One example of such work was EW 330 Road in the Oologah-Talala area.
The road was submitted as part of Disaster-1985 and EW 330 road was repaired, including the replacement of the chip and seal surface, according to documents.
To complicate matters, this roadway was listed on the alternative project list for the $13 million in FEMA funding that Helm promoted during his recent re-election campaign.
The funds were originally designated for the Keetonville Road project due to the 2008 flood disaster, however Helm submitted information for an alternate project instead of rebuilding the existing roadway. That alternative project included more than 130 miles of road resurfacing.
EW 330 was included in that project and work was completed, according to Helm. EW 330 is located in Oologah-Talala area more than 15 miles from Keetonville Road where the 2008 flood damage ocurred.
This roadway along with others including 370 Road, 360 Road, 480 Road were included on both the Disaster-1985 and alternative projects lists. Helm received more than $500,000 from FEMA for chip and seal repairs on these roads through Disaster-1985. Helm received a portion of the $13 million from the FEMA alternative project for the same roads.

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