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Howard County Council votes to extend state of emergency

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Posted at 8:23 PM, Sep 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-07 06:26:56-04

The Howard County Council voted unanimously to extend state of emergency in Ellicott City. 

The decision extends county executive Allan Kittleman's state of emergency declaration until September 20, 2016.

Most of Main Street remains closed after devastating floods tore through historic Ellicott City in July. County leaders said it could take tens of million to get the infrastructure back to the area. 

"We need to have the ability to keep people off the streets and keep people out of certain buildings," Kittleman said.

On July 30, Kittleman issued an executive order in response to the tragic flooding in historic Ellicott City. According to county code, the county executive's order cannot be extended without approval from the county council. 

On Aug. 5, the council voted to extend the state of emergency through Sept. 7. On Aug. 22, Kittleman requested the council extend the state of emergency until Sept. 20.

Extending the state of emergency allows the county to continue to rebuild. 

"The primary purpose here is to allow the county to complete the major works that's underway that require the whole main street to be closed," county council vice chair, Jon Weinstein, said.

County and city leaders are also waiting to hear if FEMA funding will come through to help with the efforts.

"Should we get that, we already have a recovery organization together that's already looking at possible ways in which we can mitigate floods in the future," Kittleman said.

The additional funding could help with renewed flood plans to prevent this from happening again. There's also new, local legislation halting development in the Tiber-Hudson watershed.

"It's to give us a chance to recover and give the county the chance to evaluate through various studies what happened in this flood and what the impact of various developments would have on flooding," Weinstein said.

The hope is that work will be done on or around September 16th.

"We are going to have to do major work going forward, fixing the sidewalks, and probaly redoing the streets in some parts," Weinstein said.

"I really want the business owners and businesses and property owners to be able to get back into their buildings but i want to make sure it's safe to do so," Kittleman said.

The resolution says that the state of emergency will run through September 20th.

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