03-20-2012

Seven more counties approved for storm-recovery assistance

Kentucky Press News Service

Seven additional counties are now eligible for reimbursements to county and local governments to assist in storm recovery, Gov. Steve Beshear announced Tuesday.

The newly approved counties are Ballard, Johnson, Kenton, LaRue, Pendleton, Trimble, and Wolfe.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has now approved 14 counties to receive Public Assistance (PA), which provides reimbursements to county and local governments to repair public infrastructure or to remove storm debris. Deadly storms and tornadoes tore through Kentucky on Feb. 29 and March 2.

On Friday, FEMA approved PA for Grant, Laurel, Lawrence, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee and Morgan counties. As damage assessments continue, more counties may be approved for similar aid.

“Our state and local officials are working hand in hand with FEMA to assess damages to both public and private properties quickly, so our families and communities can access the aid they need without delay,” Beshear said. “Repair and recovery work is already under way in our affected counties, and the swift approval of this public assistance will help to restore our shared facilities and remove storm debris in our hometowns. I appreciate FEMA’s continued efforts to help our communities.”

The PA program helps local governments recover costs incurred in removing disaster-related debris from public rights of way, and for measures taken by state and local emergency responders to protect lives and property before, during and after the disaster. The program also helps defray the cost of repairing roads, public buildings, utilities and other public infrastructure damaged or destroyed as a result of the storms and tornadoes.

Supplementary funding under the PA program goes to the state and its agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit organization. Under the program, FEMA obligates funds to the state for 75 percent of eligible costs, while the applicant covers the remaining 25 percent. The state forwards the federal funds to the eligible local governments or organizations that incurred costs.

This program is separate from the Individual Assistance program (IA), which provides grants to individuals to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses not met by insurance or other assistance programs.

Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are available to cover residential and businesses losses not fully compensated by insurance.

So far, 21 Kentucky counties have been approved for IA.