WKYT Investigates: The cost to rebuild West Liberty

MORGAN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Much of West Liberty was destroyed when a tornado tore through. The amount it's taking to rebuild it is astronomical. Around $250 million in buildings, businesses, land, and natural resources are gone. A lot of those resources, town leaders think, will never be replaced.

"They're some days you just wonder, 'how do I get to the next day?,'" asks Morgan County Judge/Executive Tim Conley. His office is footing the bill for all recovery efforts. He estimates that the town needs $250 million to get back to where they were a year ago.

"We'll never recoup our losses. Some of the losses is losses that you can't account for. You don't have the insurance to make up," says Conley.

If you break down the numbers, $250 million in losses divided throughout a county of 14,000 people is on average a loss of more than $17,000 per person.

"It's overwhelming if you've lost everything, but once John Doe gets his put back, he's pretty much moved on. This office is in charge of the county. Putting everything back together," notes Conley.

FEMA will pay for 75% of the county's costs to rebuild.

"They don't just come in and write us a check. We have to actually pay the bills so we borrow the money, pay the bills, and then get reimbursed that money."

Aside from the 75% the federal government pays, the state will reimburse the county 12% of costs. That leaves another 13% of the bill Morgan County must pay. Judge Conley has filed grants to help pay what they'll end up owing.


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