SC Governor names new Chief Resilience Officer to minimize effects of floods in the state

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COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — A new office that will help better prepare South Carolina for floods is coming together.

Over the last decade, South Carolina has experienced some serious flooding in all corners of the state. Millions of dollars in federal disaster aid have funneled into the state.

Lawmakers created the Office of Resilience last year to work on flood mitigation projects and study the issue in the state.

Governor Henry McMaster said, “What this Office of Resilience is hoping to eliminate is that fear of hopelessness and keep our citizens safe and sound.”

Tuesday afternoon, Governor McMaster announced he is nominating Ben Duncan to lead the office.

Duncan is the current director for the South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office. Officials said the Disaster Recovery Office will be absorbed the resilience group.

Duncan said, “There are some ambitious goals set for this office and we’re ready to tackle them. Including developing the statewide resilience plan, conducting the watershed study across the state, and establish a fund for resources to respond to potential and actual disasters.”

Duncan and his team will also create a revolving loan fund to help buy out homes in flood prone areas and help families move. Officials said these flood management projects will save taxpayers money in the long run.

Lawmakers have set aside some money to help cover some of those projects. The House Ways and Means Committee okayed a budget plan last week. In that plan, Committee Chairman Representative Murrell Smith (R-District 67) said is a proposal to put $50 million in a resiliency reserve fund.

Rep. Smith said, “It will help mitigation efforts with natural disasters and flooding. That’s a huge step for South Carolina to deal with the crisis we have been experiencing the last few years.”

Duncan would have to be confirmed by the Senate before he takes over as Chief Resiliency Officer.

Tuesday morning, the South Carolina Office of Resilience’s (SCOR) Disaster Recovery Office (DRO) held its scheduled Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery and Mitigation Steering Committee meeting. They announced $44 million in grant funding.

Stormwater infrastructure and drainage improvements:

  • City of Charleston: $9,964,190
  • City of Florence: $4,048,811
  • City of Manning: $4,979,555
  • City of Sumter: $4,849,725
  • Georgetown County: $939,529
  • Horry County: $2,476,250
  • Lake City: $2,847,660

Buyouts of repetitive loss properties:

  • Horry County: $13,120,685
  • Town of Cheraw: $1,747,680

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