TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Travis County Commissioners Court voted Tuesday to extend the county’s disaster declaration following last week’s ice storm.
Eric Carter, Travis County’s chief emergency management coordinator, said the county has begun its shift into recovery mode to help clear out debris and other materials resulting from the ice storm. He also called on county community members to help report their damages to the Texas Division of Emergency Management so they can seek federal assistance.
“We need both businesses and individuals to help us report the extent of damage and loss to our area to federal authorities,” Carter said. “Their reports are critical to helping us get the federal assistance we need to speed our recovery.”
So far, approximately 640 people have reported damages from the storm. Those reports can be submitted online. Carter added the county is collaborating with cities, school districts, emergency districts and other municipalities across the county to get a better picture of the totality of damage.
Officials with Travis County’s Transportation and Natural Resources Department said they are working on debris management, citing a high volume of downed trees and other materials from the storm.
Officials said they’ve identified a couple of locations in western Travis County and one location in eastern Travis County that could serve as possible debris drop-off zones. Travis County is waiting on permission from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to launch those services, officials added.
They are also working with emergency management personnel to collect data on damages sustained to roadways, parks and other facilities from the storm.
Those with downed trees, branches, brush or other materials can call (512) 854-9433 to report the debris and request curbside assistance.
Travis County Judge Andy Brown said the county will also begin curbside debris removal for residents living in unincorporated parts of the county that lie outside city jurisdictions. Officials noted the county will hire outside contractors to help expedite that work.
Beyond the disaster declaration and expanded curbside services, Commissioner Ann Howard asked the county to explore conversations with Austin Energy following last week’s ice storm. She said many county residents are AE customers, and she wants residents’ concerns brought to AE’s attention.
“How do we help our [county] residents who are customers feel like they have a voice?” she asked.