CAVE SPRINGS (KFSM) -- Cave Springs found out on Wednesday (Aug. 16) that they won't get any federal help to cover thousands of dollars in spring storm damage because the city missed the application deadline.
Cave Springs Mayor Travis Lee said he got a letter from FEMA this week, after a city councilman forwarded it to him saying the city would not be reimbursed for about $250,000 in federal aid and it was money they were counting on.
“I'm just astounded by the letter of denial because it should have never happened in the first place. We asked repeatedly in the July 11 city council meeting whether the paperwork got sent and complete and she said yes,” he said.
Lee blames the city's recorder and treasurer, Kimberley Hutcheson.
"She needs to go to jail. The people need to sue her,” Lee said.
Lee said he doesn't understand why she made such a costly mistake, by sending in the paperwork nearly three weeks late.
“It's either willful or incompetence, it's one or the other and I don't know if she hates me that bad where she doesn't want to turn in the paperwork because it's nothing to do with me, it's the people of Cave Springs and that's what is so hard to swallow is because what are we going to tell them,” he said.
Some of the worst flooding damage was at the end of Pebble Beach Road where sewer lines had to be repaired. Mayor Lee said they spent around $180,000 to make the repairs.
“Well luckily the water and sewer is very strong and we have the money, but the victims here are the people here of Cave Springs and we're elected to do the proper work to get reimbursed from the federal government or from the state depending what it is and we can't do the basic things to get it done,” he said.
We reached out to Kimberley Hutcheson's attorney for comment, but have not heard back. It's not clear if she's broken any laws and she's not facing charges at this time. Mayor Lee said at this point there is nothing they can do and they city will just be out the money.