Nichols town leaders optimistic $700K relief bill will pass Senate

NICHOLS, SC (WBTW) – A bill to give the town of Nichols $700,000 to help rebuild passed in the House of Representatives earlier this week. That bill went before the Senate Thursday for first reading, and is expected to have the second reading next week.

Flood water from Hurricane Matthew destroyed more than 200 homes, the Nichols Fire Department and countless other town buildings, police cars and equipment.

“It’s just such a devastation. It’s just something you never think, in your life, you would have to deal with,” said Nichols resident Bonita Bailey.

Bonita Bailey is one of five people living on her street in Nichols.

“It just drags you down. I thought if I could just get back under my roof things would start looking up. So, basically that’s where I’m at now. Trying to get out of debt with what I had to go in debt for to get back to Nichols,” said Bailey.

As many people still work to get back home, Mayor Lawson Battle says the town is making progress.

“We’re getting back, closer to a new normal. We have our temporary fire station. We have a truck running now,” Mayor Lawson Battle said. “We are responding.”

Battle says flood water destroyed the Nichols Fire Department and both fire engines and the police department lost three out of four cars. Now two officers share one car.

“The House and the Senate are working on some money for us to help us with the 25 percent that the town couldn’t afford,” Mayor Battle said.

Town leaders are hopeful the Senate will approve $700,000 to help the town replace equipment damaged with flood water.

“The town buildings, all of those were under water. All the stuff we stored in them. We have to replace everything,” said Battle.

Bailey says she appreciates the town working to replace emergency services.

“It was a good little quiet, safe community. With things like they are now, even though we still have a patrolman that patrols, we still need new cars, fire trucks and things of that nature so we don’t have to depend on surrounding communities to come help,” said Bailey.

Bailey hopes as the town moves forward, the Nichols disaster relief money is made available for more people to move back into town.

“My concern is and I think a lot of the other residents in the area is that they would like know when we’re going to get donated funds. How much we will get? I think that will bring a lot of people back into the town,” Bailey said.

Senator Kent Williams says he is optimistic the senate will approve the bill.