POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Governor Cox says Utah flood relief money largely spent on sandbags and heavy machinery

Apr 21, 2023, 5:00 AM

Spencer Cox pictured, he'll holding a Latino town hall on Oct. 24...

Gov. Spencer Cox speaks during a press conference at the Utah State Capitol on Thursday, March 3, 2022. Cox says the majority of the state's $5 million dollars allocated for flood relief efforts has gone to purchasing supplies and heavy machinery. (Mengshin Lin/Deseret News)

(Mengshin Lin/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, UT — Gov. Spencer Cox says the majority of the state’s $5 million dollars allocated for flood relief efforts has gone to purchasing supplies and heavy machinery.

“The money is being used in lots of different ways, sandbags [are] a big piece of that,” Cox said during his monthly interview on KSL NewsRadio’s Let Me Speak to the Governor. 

Cox recently declared a state of emergency in Utah due to flooding and related problems. In that news release, he said the money allocated for flood efforts had been spent. The emergency order allows the state to access more relief money dedicated to emergencies.

Other purchases, according to Cox, include getting heavy machinery to clean culverts and ditches that are catch basins for excess water. 

“When you haven’t had high water like we’re having this year you see trees growing up in the middle of these [drainages] and they need to be cut down,” he said.

He also says more funds will need to go to clean up.

According to the Department of Emergency Management, money previously allocated for flood relief efforts has been spent on the following:

  • 2 million sandbags distributed
  • 14 Debris Removal and Mitigation projects
  • 36 units of heavy equipment/machinery for staging and emergency debris removal
  • 28 sandbagging machines
  • Channelizing devices (barriers, waterwalls, etc.)
  • Water/trash pumps
  • Installation and implementation of 30 monitoring solutions (cameras, stream gauges, etc.) for high-risk areas
  • Acquiring and outfitting response trailers
  • Storage solutions to protect sandbags from degrading
  • Supplementing an already existing public awareness campaign for flood risk and preparedness (TV ads)
  • As well as many smaller projects for recovery activities and personnel.

Beyond flood relief funds

“Then, we’ll have to look at flood damage down the road and how bad it gets,” Cox said.

Cox is also particularly concerned about mud and landslides. 

“There are 100 active slides that we’re monitoring right now,” he said.

“It’s a big number,” he added. “The ground is always moving so our geologic survey; this is what they do. They know where these slides are, and they are watching them closely.”

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Governor Cox says Utah flood relief money largely spent on sandbags and heavy machinery