August 12, 2016

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman announced today that former county executive and state senator Jim Robey will serve as special advisor for community recovery for the rebuilding of flood-damaged Ellicott City.
Today, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan also requested that President Barack Obama issue a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Howard County as a result of the flooding. An approved disaster declaration would bring federal assistance to Howard County and Ellicott City through state and local agencies and public safety partners that served them during the storm.
For the new committee, Kittleman has asked that Robey’s first task be to form a team comprised of representatives from local organizations, businesses, residents and the faith-based community who would offer direction on the continued rebuilding efforts for Ellicott City’s Main Street area.
In the nearly two weeks since a storm dropped six inches of rain on the area in less than two hours, county crews have begun repairs along Main Street and residents, building owners and merchants have been given limited access to clean up their properties.
“We have made great strides in our cleanup following the storm,” said Kittleman. “But we still have a long road ahead of us. Next we need to focus on rebuilding the town and rebuild it with the community in a way that is not only respectful of the past but has an eye to our future needs.”
Kittleman said Robey was uniquely qualified to lead this process because as a lifelong Howard County resident, he is familiar with the people who live and work here and because he has experience and contacts to coordinate the county’s state and federal assistance needs.
“Most importantly, Jim cares so deeply about our community,” Kittleman added. “He has the heart and understanding of what this community means to us. We’re so fortunate that he has accepted this role.”
Robey, who also served as the county’s chief of police from 1991-1998, was a police officer in 1972 when flooding in the days following Hurricane Agnes caused severe damage to Ellicott City and the surrounding areas.
‘I lived in Daniels at the time and the entire town was destroyed by Agnes,” Robey said. “So I can empathize with what folks are going through. It’s why I was quick to say yes to Allan when he asked.”
In addition to forming the committee, Kittleman announced that he is proposing county legislation to allow for permit fees to be waived for those affected by the flood.  Kittleman will ask the County Council to return to session as quickly as possible to address this legislation.
Kittleman also announced that more than $500,000 in monetary donations since the flood. A new Ellicott City Recovery Fund Committee will be responsible for a process to gather applications to distribute those funds. Kittleman announced that Howard County Councilman Jon Weinstein has agreed to chair a Recovery Fund Committee.
A new website, www.ECfloodrecovery.org, has been created to serve as a one-stop shop for all flood-related information and questions form those needing assistance.
In the Governor’s request to the White House, he designated the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) as the state coordinating agency for the disaster declaration. MEMA staff will work with Howard County staff and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to perform a damage assessment as the first step in seeking federal assistance. This process started several days after the storm, when building inspectors and public works officials declared the area safe.
“We’re grateful for the Governor’s request for federal assistance,” said Kittleman. “We are a resilient community and Ellicott City will rebuild. I have great memories there and I want my grandchildren to have great memories there, too.”

Read the original Press Release here.