DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division (HSEMD) are partnering to help communities in 30 counties pay for debris removal, emergency services and other eligible work necessitated by the Dec. 10-11 severe winter storm.
Local officials and certain private nonprofit entities that provide essential government services have until Sunday, Feb. 3, to apply for federal disaster grants by filling out a Request for Public Assistance. The form is available on the Iowa Web site: www.Iowahomelandsecurity.org.
Under the presidential disaster declaration, FEMA's Public Assistance program pays 75 percent of eligible costs. The state of Iowa is paying 10 percent, with the local applicant responsible for the remaining 15 percent.
To date, 248 state agencies, local governments and private nonprofits have submitted Requests for Public Assistance.
"Federal and state Public Assistance officers can help local officials understand what projects might be eligible for disaster assistance," said Justo Hernandez, federal coordinating officer. "We can help them fill out the paperwork."
State agencies and local governments this year have the option of participating in the Public Assistance Pilot Program, which encourages debris-management planning, use of a local authority's own workforce for debris operations, cost savings in project management and debris recycling. It is intended to reduce costs to the federal government, while expediting assistance to state and local governments.
If a local government chooses to use its own staff to do debris cleanup work - called "force account labor" - the Pilot Program allows FEMA to reimburse for regular time, as well as overtime, plus fringe benefits. This is the option many Iowa applicants are choosing.
The Pilot Program may be used for all categories of Public Assistance, except Category B, which is Emergency Protective Measures. It is not available to private nonprofit entities that may qualify for federal disaster assistance.
FEMA's Public Assistance program was authorized in 30 Iowa counties by the Jan. 4 presidential disaster declaration. The counties are Adair, Adams, Appanoose, Cedar, Clarke, Clinton, Davis, Decatur, Fremont, Iowa, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Linn, Lucas, Madison, Mahaska, Marion, Monroe, Montgomery, Page, Ringgold, Taylor, Union, Van Buren, Wapello, Warren, Washington and Wayne.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.