Residents of Lone Grove, rural Carter County and Love County are running into confusion and frustration with the government storm shelter program.


Residents of Lone Grove, rural Carter County and Love County are running into confusion and frustration with the government storm shelter program.

The $600,000 rebate program announced on Oct. 15 would allow property owners in Lone Grove and Carter County to be reimbursed for up to 75 percent of the cost of a government-approved storm shelter or safe room.

The program, provided though Federal Emergency Management Agency funds, was called a “gift” to local residents by Lone Grove City Manager Marianne Elfert when it was first announced on Oct. 15. That gift, however, is taking its time in arriving.

Carter County Emergency Management Director Paul Tucker said that the last contact he had with FEMA was a request on Jan. 6 for additional information.

“We weren’t real sure what the response time would be,” Tucker said. “We were hoping to hear something by the first of the year.”

He said FEMA wanted additional information because of historical preservation concerns with older homes.

Tucker said he’s also been in contact with state environmental agencies to make sure the proposed shelters do not damage areas of geological or archaeological interest.

He said he was unsure of when he would receive a list of which applications were approved or denied, but he hopes to hear back from FEMA within the next two months.

Tracey Smithwick, Love County Emergency Management officer, said they are having entirely different problems with their storm shelter program. He said some residents were initially confused on how the shelter reimbursement program worked. He said some residents believed that the reimbursement was to the county who would buy the shelters, when it is in fact a reimbursement to the individual property owner who would buy the shelter and then be reimbursed for 75 percent of the cost.

“There was some confusion at first, but we had to explain it to them,” Smithwick said.

The emergency management officer said part of the confusion may have come from the county’s attempts to explain the project at first.

“It was just one of those deals where it was like, open mouth, insert foot,” he said.

Applications for the shelter reimbursement program in Love County are still being accepted until Friday.