RALEIGH, N.C. — Preliminary numbers should be in by Friday on how much Hurricane Isabel will cost the state in cleanup and repairs.
There is little doubt the number will be staggering.
Gov. Mike Easley did not ask for money during his latest briefing Monday, Instead, he appealed to the citizens to
donate items and volunteer their time
to assist in the recovery effort.
Easley's announcement came as officials began to assess the enormous costs of the storm to the state.
The cleanup and repair costs will strain a state budget that already was stretched by a struggling economy.
State officials will have to decide how to reconnect Hatteras Island after Isabel sliced through Highway 12. The solution will cost taxpayers about $3 million.
Easley said the plan was well thought-out, with the federal government providing the equipment.
Workers will have to refill where the washout has occurred. They are going to have to make the primary road surface and then pave the top of it. Easley said the work can be completed by late October.
The state also is assessing the massive damage in more than 40 counties.
A big unknown is the impact on businesses. The Perry Wynn's Fishery in Colerain was world famous for its salted herring, But now it lies in ruins. Motels along the coast lost part of the tourism season. The fishing season is now a bust, and crop losses are significant.
The business impact will mean lost jobs and a loss of tax revenue for the state.
How much money is lost depends a lot on how much of the loss is insured loss and how much is an uninsured loss. Part of the unknown factor on costs of the storm also depends on how much the federal government is willing to absorb.
Easley said 1,500 members of the National Guard are helping with the clean-up. About 2,000 Department of Transportation workers also are clearing debris and repairing damaged roads.