BRAC estimates economic loss of area shut down due to ice - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

BRAC estimates economic loss of area shut down due to ice

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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

Several days of weather-related closures cost the south Louisiana economy big-time.

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) tallied up the numbers and reported area governments spent an estimated $500,000 each day on things like overtime and equipment costs.

The group estimates a loss of roughly $40 million in overall economic activity in the region.

William Daniel, Chief Administrative Officer for the city-parish, says the $250-500,000 that the storm cost was not in the budget.  Daniel says that is why there is a reserve fund, to pay for unexpected costs.  He added the federal government should reimburse the city-parish those costs.

The most severe impact has been on small businesses and hourly employees.

For example, the wait staff at Me'Pa's in Central says they are hoping business will now pick up.  The diner has been opened for nearly two years, but has had some ups and downs.  Brook Smith, one of the waitresses, says things were just starting to pick back up.

"It hurts me because I live off my tips and I work here everyday.  The other girls I have working, they live off their tips," Smith said. 

The diner is open Tuesday through Saturday.  Smith says most of the wait staff are single moms and one woman is paying for school, so even one day off can be a hardship.  Now that the roads are back open, workers at Me'Pa's say the phone has been ringing with customers making sure they can come in.

"I think that our lunch is going to be busy today," Smith said.  "Breakfast was kind of dead, but lunch will pick up hopefully."

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