FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Six Kentucky counties and the city of Salyersville will receive federal reimbursement for most of their costs to repair certain roads, culverts and other infrastructure that was damaged by the May storms and floods. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing more than $325,000 to reimburse these applicants for 90 percent of their costs for 17 projects.
"These grants, as well as additional grants we expect from FEMA, will make a big difference for many counties that were already operating with strained budgets," noted Kentucky Division of Emergency Management Director Brig. Gen. John W. Heltzel.
Seven of the projects-for which FEMA grants total $149,342-are for hard hit Pike County. They include $60,750 for hillside road repair, $35,550 for three culvert repair projects, and $20,992 for repair of an eroded ditch bank.
For Knott County, FEMA grants total $88,324, which includes $45,780 to repair a bridge approach and $42,545 for two road repair projects.
For Fulton County, FEMA is providing $36,185 for two road repair projects, and in Trigg County, FEMA obligated $26,159 for a road repair project. Other, smaller grants are for projects in Ballard and Grayson counties and for the city of Salyersville.
"We are continuing to work closely with applicants to process their requests for Public Assistance and approve projects," said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Kim Kadesch. "We expect soon to fund the federal share of costs for a number of other projects."
A May 29 federal disaster declaration designated 24 counties as eligible for FEMA's Public Assistance (PA) program. PA reimburses state and local government agencies, tribal entities and certain non-profit organizations for a portion of their disaster-related emergency response, debris removal and infrastructure repair and rebuilding costs. FEMA estimates it will eventually provide about $25 million in PA grants for this disaster.
As authorized by law, FEMA approves grants and provides technical assistance to the states and applicants. States receive, disburse and monitor the grants. Applicants are responsible for managing the funded projects and providing documentation to the state.
At the time FEMA obligates funding for a project, it places the money into a special account. However, a state cannot access those funds until it is time to disburse a payment to reimburse the applicant. To receive the reimbursement, the applicant must first provide proper documentation to the state that it has paid project costs. Thus, the timing of payments from the state to applicants depends in large measure upon when the applicant pays project bills and submits documentation to the state.
Over the last two years Kentucky has been hard hit by natural disasters. Widespread infrastructure damage resulted in five federally declared PA disasters, in turn, leading to 1,185 applicants seeking PA funding for more than 4,000 projects.
Two years ago the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM) had only two full time employees devoted to managing and disbursing FEMA's PA grants. With help from a FEMA grant of $1.5 million for administrative costs, KYEM has increased its Public Assistance staff to 22. The agency is now able to be much more pro-active in supporting applicants' documentation of their project work payments and submission of records to KYEM for reimbursement.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.