ATLANTA, Ga. -- Four more counties have been added to the 30 already declared eligible for federal assistance as a result of damaging winter storms that swept across the region in a frigid late January week-long period. The counties are Carroll, Douglas, Floyd and Rockdale.
As with the 30 other previously declared a major disaster area late last week, county and local governments can now receive funding to supplement efforts in removing debris from rights-of-way, and in paying for emergency protective measures. Also eligible for federal help are certain private, non-profit electric cooperatives.
The declaration makes it possible for federal help that would cover 75 percent of the approved cost for debris removal, which includes broken limbs and fallen trees, and emergency costs triggered by the disaster. Such costs could include overtime pay for police, fire and other vital public personnel.
Theodore A. Monette, Jr., named by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director James Lee Witt to coordinate the federal relief effort, reassured local governments that procedures for seeking assistance soon will be provided at a series of applicant briefings being planned by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA).
In addition to Carroll, Douglas, Floyd and Rockdale, other counties in the 34 now eligible for federal assistance are Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Chattooga, Cherokee, Cobb, Dawson, DeKalb, Elbert, Fannin, Forsyth, Franklin, Fulton, Gilmer, Gordon, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Lumpkin, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Pickens, Rabun, Stephens, Union, Walker, White and Wilkes.
Monette said the declaration also opens the way to the state for cost-shared funding of approved projects that would reduce future disaster risks. Funding would come from FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, an initiative that provided about $40 million for similar Georgia projects during the decade of the 1990s.