Funding in state budget could help cut flooding in Eastern NC

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KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — State lawmakers are including hundreds of millions of dollars in the first draft of the state budget to put a stop to flooding.

“Anytime an individual is flooded out of their home and has to relocate, that’s a disadvantage for them,” said Jerri King, the emergency services director for Lenoir County.

Scenes of swollen rivers and overflowing creeks aren’t new in Eastern North Carolina.

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The Neuse River and Contentnea Creek in Lenoir County sometimes flood multiple times a year, closing parks and businesses.

“We have debris build up in the streams and the tributaries that are going to back up into the river,” said King. “We also have a lot of construction that takes place, and any time that happens it changes the topography.”

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State leaders know something has to give. That’s why NC Sen. Jim Perry and other state lawmakers in Eastern North Carolina are trying to secure funding for flood mitigation in the state’s budget.

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“I don’t think there’s any single magic bullet, but as we’ve seen more intense storms, higher frequencies of higher-level rainfall,” said Perry.

Perry hopes to secure $138 million for flood mitigation. The money will mainly target debris removal in creeks and rivers.

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“There was some concern about the way its been handled in the past when debris was removed and put on the banks and then washed back into the river,” said Perry.

While every flood is different, local leaders appreciate the collaboration and want to keep flooding at the front of people’s minds.

The first draft of the state’s budget is under review in the NC House. The House will send a revised version back to the NC Senate. Perry believes leaders from across the state understand how important flood mitigation funding is, and his efforts have bipartisan support.

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