Communities in race with deadline to spend Katrina money

VICKSBURG — Warren County and Vicksburg want to decide before the end of 2012 on how to spend a remaining $1.75 million in Hurricane Katrina recovery money.

The Vicksburg Post reports the money runs out in 2013.

The county got $3.8 million in 2008 to clean drainage ditches inside Vicksburg. Warren County was among 49 in Mississippi declared federal disaster areas following hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

County administrator John Smith said the Mississippi Development Authority has the county how it will spend the remaining funds.

In 2011, MDA pulled $1.5 million due to inaction on the project, but it extended the deadline to October 2013.

Smith said no money has been spent from the grant since April.

So far, small areas of Glass Bayou in the Kings community reinforced with rocks or cleared of vegetation are the only spots where any physical work has taken place.

Plans to clear sections of Stouts and Hatcher bayous farther south have bogged down because the county needs permanent access to sections of private property to continue the project.

No money was included in the grant for land acquisition and the county has shied from eminent domain proceedings.

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