BILOXI, Miss. -- The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) will receive a grant of more than $10 million from the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to pay for accounting services in the continuing recovery effort after Hurricane Katrina.
The $10.7 million FEMA Public Assistance grant covers 90 percent of the cost of accounting services for a period from July 9, 2006 to Jan. 8, 2007.
"FEMA places great emphasis on cost effectiveness and accountability," said Alec Watson, chief of staff for the Biloxi Transitional Recovery Office. "This is an integral part not only of the present recovery effort, but helps ensure we are ready for any future disasters."
The accounting firm hired by MEMA works with local municipalities, counties, and eligible private-non-profit corporations to assist in a variety of areas including funds-tracking and ensuring state and local contracting compliance. The accounting oversight and compliance services are essential in enabling Mississippi to manage and review its reconstruction efforts more effectively.
Prior to the present grant, FEMA disbursed more than $18.5 million for accounting services, bringing the total disbursed to more than $30.4 million, which includes the recent grant.
"The accounting firm worked side by side with MEMA's public assistance professionals and the state's auditors office, assisting them in reconciling obligated funding for qualified and authorized projects," said Mike Womack, Director of MEMA.
FEMA has already obligated nearly $2 billion in grants to Mississippi through the Public Assistance program. MEMA administers the program and allocates the money to the applicants.
The grant comes from FEMA's Public Assistance program, which provides financial assistance to state and federal governments and eligible non-profit organizations for disaster-related cleanup and rebuilding to pre-disaster condition. The state of Mississippi and the applicant pay a share of the costs for projects that are not fully funded by FEMA.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.