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Wildfires cost Bastrop $12M in cleanup, expected to rise

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TWC News: Wildfires cost Bastrop $12M in cleanup, expected to rise
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In the year since 2011’s Labor Day weekend wildfires, clean-up efforts have cost Bastrop County $12 million. In a multi-agency press conference Wednesday, officials say that figure could get as high at $25 million.

Also at the state-of-the-county address, officials announced that one-third of 1,723 destroyed structures have been rebuilt.

"As a whole community, we're going to make everything right,” Bastrop County Emergency Coordinator Mike Fisher said. “We're going to return and we're going to return bigger and better and stronger than we were before."

The goal is to rebuild 50 percent of the destroyed homes within one year from now.

"Four-hundred and forty-seven homes have been rebuilt, that is about 30 percent, so if we can get that additional 20 percent, we'll be doing very well," Christine Files with the Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team said.

The 2011 Labor Day weekend fires burned $170 million worth of taxable property appraisals.

“We've been fortunate that we have new improvements to the assessed role. We had about $130 million to our assessed role that helped offset it," Bastrop County Auditor Lisa Smith said.

New commercial and residential construction revenue has added to the tax base.

Officials estimate another third of affected homeowners will never return. Once the January 2013 appraisals roll around, the county should see a better economic picture.

FEMA is reimbursing Bastrop County for 75 percent of recovery costs, but they’re not the only ones helping out. LCRA chipped in a whopping $5 million. Bastrop County officials tell YNN that contribution is greatly appreciated.

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