PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- After a federally declared disaster like the April nor’easter, getting funds to repair or rebuild public infrastructure is a critical part of the response and recovery process.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reimburses state and local governments and certain eligible private nonprofit organizations for the actual costs for work required because of the disaster. The reimbursement is done through FEMA’s Public Assistance Grant Program, which also provides funds for 406 hazard mitigation projects.
Eligible work is documented on a project worksheet. The project is used to record a detailed description, the scope of eligible work, estimated or actual cost and special considerations associated with the project. FEMA then reviews, approves and obligates 75 per cent of the federal share and the state reimburses 25 per cent of that project. Once FEMA obligates a project worksheet, the funds are immediately available to the state for disbursement to applicants.
To facilitate the processing of the public assistance grants, FEMA distinguishes between emergency work and permanent work that requires repairs or replaces such things as roads, buildings and schools. FEMA further divides disaster-related work into seven categories.
Category A: Debris Removal – Clearance of trees and woody debris, building wreckage, sand, mud, silt and gravel, vehicles; and other material deposited on public and in very limited cases, private property.
Examples of eligible debris removal activities are:
Debris removal from a street or highway to allow the safe passage of emergency vehicles;
Debris removal from public property to eliminate health and safety hazards.
Examples of ineligible debris removal activities include:
Removal of debris, such as tree limbs and trunks from natural (unimproved) wilderness areas: and Removal of debris from a natural channel, unless the debris poses an immediate threat of flooding to improved property.
- Category B: Emergency Protective Measures – Measures taken, before, during and immediately after a disaster to save lives, protect public health and safety and protect improved public and private property.
Other examples of eligible emergency protective measures are:
Search and rescue;
Security forces (police and guards);
Construction of temporary levees;
Provision of shelters or emergency care;
Bracing/shoring up of damaged structures;
Provision of food, water, ice and other essential needs;
Emergency demolition; and
Removal of health and safety hazards.
Category C: Roads and Bridges – Repair of roads, bridges, shoulders, ditches, lighting and signs;
Category D: Water Control Facilities – repair of irrigation systems, drainage channels and pumping facilities; repair of levees, dams and flood control channels is eligible but limited;
Category E: Buildings and Equipment – Repair or replacement of public buildings, including contents and systems; heavy equipment; and vehicles;
Category F: Utilities – Repair of water treatment and delivery systems; power generation facilities and distribution lines; and sewage collection and treatment facilities; and
Category G: Parks, Recreational Facilities, Other – Repair and restoration of parks, playgrounds, pools, cemeteries and beaches; work otherwise not covered in categories A-F.
The New Jers...