WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is asking Congress for Fiscal Year 2000 budget authority of $922.3 million and an additional $2.5 billion in emergency contingency funds for disasters.
"Reducing disaster costs through FEMA's Project Impact initiative remains a top priority," FEMA Director James Lee Witt said in outlining key provisions of the budget request for the fiscal year, which runs from October 1, 1999 through September 30, 2000.
"Already we have 118 active Project Impact communities and more than 680 participating corporate and business partners," Witt added. "Non-federal contributions far exceed our investment in these communities. Our request for $30 million for the next fiscal year will allow us to continue to expand this effort for building disaster-resistant communities throughout the nation."
According to Witt, disaster costs over the past five years have averaged $2.5 billion per year for FEMA alone, excluding the Northridge earthquake. Based on this, FEMA is asking for a total of $2.8 billion for the President's Disaster Relief Fund, including $2.5 billion in emergency contingency funds.
Additionally, a total appropriation of $12 million is being requested under the National Flood Mitigation Fund to remove or elevate flood-prone buildings that suffer repetitive flood losses. The agency also is proposing a $63.5 million fund to underwrite the cost for modernizing its flood-mapping technology, including a one-time appropriation of $5 million and the authority to assess mortgage transaction fees.
Other highlights of the budget request include:
- $30.8 million to support the Administration's effort to combat terrorism, an increase of $13.2 million over the current year's estimate.
- $142 million for implementing an Emergency Management Performance Grant, which consolidates funding for FEMA's preparedness, mitigation and other non-disaster programs for state emergency management activities.
- $45 million for the U.S. Fire Administration to carry out fire prevention and training that includes specialized training to enhance the nation's fire departments capabilities to respond to terrorist attacks.
- $125 million for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program for individuals and families in designated areas of high need.
The budget proposal calls for 2,547 full-time equivalent, non-disaster FEMA employees, compared with 2,409 for the current year for a net increase of 138.