TARBORO, NC (WTVD) --Gov. Pat McCrory and the Hurricane Matthew Recovery Committee held a regional meeting Friday at Edgecombe Community College in Tarboro. The goal of the regional meeting, the second of its kind, was to update county residents on the state's progress on the relief effort and address concerns of the county residents.
"I'm ready to get back to work so I would just like to be bought out and move from there," said one resident.
McCrory telling residents top priorities in Edgecombe County include housing and the rebuilding efforts.
"We've got to make some decisions literally in days and weeks with regard to do you rebuild in certain areas or do you look at other areas transitional plans," McCrory stated. "We cannot wait much longer."
The Hurricane Matthew Recovery Committee is also the umbrella for 3 subcommittees: The North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund, Planning and Building Sustainable Communities, and Economic Development Strategic Plan. Following the meeting, attendees were invited to speak with members of each subcommittee to spend more time addressing their concerns.
"I'd rather for my family to have somewhere to stay than keep giving us money that we can't use," said one woman while addressing the governor and committee. "And after January 7th, what are we going to do?"
McCrory says the state will be asking for $1 billion dollars in financial assistance. If and when those funds are received, he says the focus will shift to "unmet needs". The committee says the timeline for this happening should be the week of December 5th.
During the meeting, North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry gave "preliminary estimates" of Hurricane Matthew's damage thus far.
- Over 78,700 residential structures were damaged or destroyed, totaling more than $777 million dollars in losses.
- More than 30,000 businesses sustained physical/economic damage, affecting 400k+ employees.
- Total economic business disruption to exceed $2 billion dollars.
McCrory also stressed the importance of being wise when trying to rebuild. "What we don't want to do is to begin something in which we may be repeating the mistakes of the past," said McCrory. "The longer you wait the more difficult it is to make difficult decisions."
In Edgecombe County, the committee says $7.6 million dollars in individual assistance has been awarded to residents. The governor also says business owners have the opportunity to be bought out and given a second chance.
"We are not looking for tens of thousands of dollars, but just maybe somebody...some help to be able to hire people to come and put our building back together," said business owner Nancy Bolton.
Bolton was one of many attendees to voice their concern and share their story with the governor and the committee.
Three more regional meetings hosted by the Hurricane Matthew Recovery Committee have already been scheduled.
- Fayetteville, November 21, 10am-12pm (Fayetteville Technical Community College)
- Greenville, November 30, 10am-12pm (East Carolina University)
- Kinston, December 2, 10am-12pm (Lenoir Community College)
If you would like to help with Hurricane Matthew disaster relief, you can text NCRECOVERS to 30306 or visit NCDisasterRelief.org