LEXINGTON, Ky. -- When disaster strikes, local and state officials focus on addressing the immediate needs of survivors and community safety issues. A presidential disaster declaration brings in federal programs to supplement these efforts in designated counties.
Communities may need to clear debris from roads, pay for emergency services, and repair and restore damaged infrastructure – roads and bridges, public water facilities, schools, parks, buildings and damaged equipment.
The federal program that helps local governments, state agencies and certain private nonprofit organizations is called Public Assistance. Six Kentucky counties – Carter, Elliott, Lewis, Madison, Pike and Shelby – are eligible to apply under President Obama’s July 23 disaster declaration for the July severe storms, flooding and mudslides.
Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance specialists are working closely together to help local officials understand how the reimbursement program works to help restore flood-damaged infrastructure.
“We want to make sure local officials are clear on how this process works and what FEMA and the Commonwealth can do by law and regulation to help with a community’s disaster expenses,” KYEM Director John Heltzel said.
The Public Assistance program can reimburse eligible expenses for debris removal, emergency measures and repair or replacement of infrastructure damaged or destroyed by the disaster. The program is a cost-share, with 75 percent from FEMA and 25 percent from state and local sources.
The state works with county emergency managers to identify applicants. FEMA determines eligibility of the applicant, the projects and the costs. State and federal teams work closely with applicants to define the scope of work and capture eligible costs.
KYEM has been holding briefings for officials from local governments, agencies and eligible nonprofit organizations, explaining eligibility and how to apply. The last one is scheduled on Friday for Madison County.
“We’re now in the process of holding kickoff meetings with each applicant so they know exactly what to expect and what documentation they need to provide,” Federal Coordinating Officer Doug Mayne said.
Local officials who want further information can contact KYEM.
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.