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Help on the way: Assistance available in the wake of Zeta

The Dallas County Commission held its last meeting of 2020 on Monday.

Newly-appointed Dallas County Engineer Heath Sexton told the Commission what citizens of Dallas County can expect now that the county has been officially declared a disaster area in the wake of Hurricane Zeta by FEMA, which Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey Announced last Thursday.

“This was a big benefit,” said Sexton. ‘This is what we were looking for.”

Sexton said the disaster declaration allows for both public and individual assistance.

Now that the county has been declared a disaster area, Dallas County Probate Judge and Commission Chairman Jimmy Nunn has activated contracts for debris removal services.

Zeta downed hundreds of trees and powerlines across Dallas County and many citizens are still reeling from the damage the storm caused.

Sexton said he will soon meet with contractors to discuss the scope of work required to clean up Dallas County in the wake of the storm.

Sexton said contractors will cut hazardous limbs that hang over roadways, leaning trees and pick up dangerous debris on roadsides.

“I’m excited about this,” he said. “I know that many residents are concerned about the safety issues.”

Sexton said any debris located on the side of Dallas County-maintained roads is eligible to be picked up by contractors and that work along the county’s 800 miles of roadways will begin within the week.

While contractors cannot remove debris of off private property, Dallas County EMA Director Toya Stiles can qualify for individual assistance by visiting www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-6922.

Nunn said that citizens cannot “double dip”, meaning that citizens who’ve been paid by their insurance providers will not qualify for assistance.