by Commissioner Terry Cook
The destruction to our trees is unprecedented, and no area in Williamson County was spared.This is a very difficult time for our residents.
The county has been working overtime to clear streets in the unincorporated parts of Wilco by doing the only thing they legally do - moving the limbs and debris to the sides of the roads. Unfortunately, the county cannot do anything to improve your property, and that includes limb and debris removal.
If your tree limbs or trees fell into the roadway and were chopped up by the County’s Road and Bridge Crews, they will be stacking the wood back in your yard. THE TREE DEBRIS IS YOUR PROPERTY AND YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO REMOVE; TAKE IT TO THE COUNTY LANDFILL IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE OF A CITY’S LIMITS. I encourage you to band with your neighbors and hire a hauler to remove the debris if you are not a city resident.
Your first call should be to your home insurance provider.
However, because a local disaster declaration was put out last week, you, as a homeowner and/or business owner, can also report damage to your home or business (not landscape) via the Individual State of Texas Assessment Tool, or iSTAT. Explanation of the iSTAT process can be found HERE. The link to the actual survey is HERE. To be clear, this is a process to assist with damages to your house, not your fence or yard, including the trees.
A disaster declaration could also allow for people with home damage to get some financial assistance, such as low interest loans, for people who are uninsured or underinsured. In order to be eligible, the county must meet a minimum threshold for damage and the state must have a disaster declaration and must meet a minimum threshold for damage.That minimum threshold is being determined as quickly as possible.
To be clear, FEMA is not on the way. County residents are on their own for the cleanup from the ice no matter what you hear from neighbors or read on social media.