The head of the Governor's Commission to Rebuild Texas took part in a conference Tuesday aimed at assuring hard-hit communities that the State has not forgotten them.
John Sharp, Texas A&M University System Chancellor, also heads up the Governor's Commission to Rebuild Texas. He was among several state officials and local leaders who were giving updates Tuesday on where communities stand after the storm and the services being offered to affected areas.
"We normally have about 1,300 businesses in our community. We have about 360 right now after Hurricane Harvey that are open and up and running," said Diane Probst, President and CEO of the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce.
"We were probably north of 500 brick-and-mortar type businesses," said Jeffrey Hentz of the Port Aransas and Mustang Island Chamber of Commerce. "Today we probably have what we call brick-and-mortar businesses, probably about 50 or 60, that are open."
Sharp said one of the most important things the State has been able to provide is personnel trained at Texas A&M to handle federal paperwork.
"And then we sent them to Refugio," Sharp said. "We sent them to any county that requested it including Aransas and others. Nueces. And those folks are literally there helping them fill out the paperwork."
Sharp said if federal paperwork isn't filled out, it could spell disaster for small communities hard hit by Harvey.
"Then what happens is the federal government comes back to Rockport four years from now, does their audit, they don't see the paperwork done right, they don't see the receipts and all this kind of stuff, and they literally claw the money back out of the city budget," Sharp said.
State Rep. Todd Hunter hopes more forums can be held to remind state and federal leaders not to forget the areas in Texas first hit by Hurricane Harvey.
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