RALEIGH, N.C. – The immediate response to severe storms and tornadoes that hit central and eastern North Carolina on April 16 saddled communities with a lot of costly cleanup and infrastructure repair work.
These costs are now being repaid through Public Assistance, a Federal Emergency Management Agency cost-share program which can reimburse local governments, state agencies and certain nonprofit organizations for eligible disaster-related expenses for debris removal, emergency services and repair and replacement of damaged infrastructure.
“Homeowners are not the only ones who need financial help to recover from a disaster, especially in these lean budget times,” said North Carolina Emergency Management Director Doug Hoell. “Debris removal, infrastructure damage and other disaster-related expenses can add up quickly and deplete a community or organization’s resources. But FEMA has programs to help both families and community governments or agencies to recover.”
For Public Assistance reimbursements, the federal share is 75 percent and the state pays the nonfederal share of 25 percent.
NCEM works with county and city emergency managers to identify potential applicants. FEMA determines the applicant’s eligibility, the type and scope of work to be included and the costs incurred. A project worksheet is then prepared and submitted for FEMA approval and payment.
“Teams of FEMA and NCEM Public Assistance staff are meeting individually with each applicant so communities and agencies know exactly what to expect and what documentation they need to provide,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Bolch.
Applicants have submitted more than 85 Requests for Public Assistance covering more than 30 large projects and another 85 small projects. FEMA has completed 60 project worksheets, of which 20 have been obligated for payment.
Each applicant is assigned a Public Assistance Coordinator who guides them through the process of documenting damage, determining repair work to be covered, estimating costs, identifying insurance coverage and developing work projects.
As the work is done, reimbursement funding is sent by FEMA to NCEM, which adds its share and pays the local government or state agency. To date, more than $1.1 million has been approved for eligible debris removal, emergency protective measures and public buildings and utilities.
The Presidential disaster declaration authorized Public Assistance in Bertie, Bladen, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hoke, Johnston, Lee, Onslow, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Wake and Wilson counties.