Preston County, W. Va., Receives $22K Reimbursement Six Years After Hurricane

When Sandy tore through Preston County, it blocked major roads and left thousands without electricity for weeks.

by Kathy Plum, The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va. / August 28, 2018
Fall color is muted by snow on Interstate 68, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Preston County, Superstorm Sandy buried parts of West Virginia under more than a foot of snow on Tuesday, cutting power to at least 264,000 customers and closing dozens of roads. At least one death was reported. The storm not only hit higher elevations hard as predicted, communities in lower elevations got much more than the dusting of snow forecasters had first thought from a dangerous system that also brought significant rainfall, high wind gusts and small-stream flooding. AP/Robert Ray

(TNS) - Six years after Hurricane Sandy, the Preston County Commission has been reimbursed for cleanup work.

On Monday, Commissioners Craig Jennings, Dave Price and Don Smith credited State Auditor J.B. McCluskey with helping end years of filing and re-filing reports with the State Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety and promises that the check was in the mail.

The latest report from that agency, on Aug. 1, was that everything had been sent to the auditor’s office for the check to be issued.

Not true, Jennings said. “The whole time that we were being told it was at the auditor’s office — I don’t know what they’re doing down there — to hold a check for something just amazes me,” he said.

The check was for $22,646.74.

While commissioners were at a training session last week at Flatwoods with the auditor’s office, they asked McCuskey about the check.

“[McCuskey] stood right there and got on his cell phone and called the guy and said, ‘Do you have it this minute?’ He looked on his screen to see if it said ‘payable to Preston County Commission’ on there anyplace, and it was not on there,” Price said.

County Administrator Kathy Mace then contacted Jimmy Gianato, director and homeland security adviser with the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The check came Friday.

“That finishes the large project we had as contractors,” Mace said. She also thanked Jeff Waybright of the auditor’s office.

When Sandy tore through Preston County, it blocked major roads and left thousands without electricity for weeks. The commission was authorized by the state to hire local contractors to clear the roads of storm debris.

Preston sought reimbursement for $90,586.96 and had received $67,940.22 prior to the latest check.

In June 2017, Mace was told that inspectors would begin verifying that the debris was removed from highways and placed at locations approved by the state Division of Highways. Preston County documented the cleanup with before-and-after photos.

Mace was told later the state had lost the county’s paperwork, including the photos, and Mace resent copies of the information.

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