GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico – FEMA’s Acting Administrator Pete Gaynor met today with mayors from five municipalities across the island to address concerns and discuss strategies to move recovery forward.
During one meeting, the mayor of Bayamón, Ramón Luis Rivera Jr., the mayor of Loiza, Julia M. Nazario, the mayor of Ponce, María “Mayita” Meléndez and the mayor of Villalba, Luis Javier Hernández Ortiz participated in a roundtable conversation that focused on accelerating the obligation of small projects like parks and community centers which cost $123,100 or less – a priority for FEMA and Puerto Rico’s Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience, or COR3.
“What we expressed here today are the same concerns of all the mayors across the island. My priority was to talk about our recreational facilities, so we can provide areas so that our residents can feel like things are getting back to normal,” said Loiza Mayor Julia Nazario.
At the meeting, Mr. Gaynor gave Bayamón Mayor Ramón Luis Rivera the news that the mitigation plan for his municipality had been approved by FEMA. This is the first municipality in Puerto Rico to have its plan approved since Hurricane María. FEMA-approved mitigation plans are valid for five years and ensure that the municipalities may be eligible for Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs.
Another municipality whose plan was approved was Cataño, which recently became home to the first municipal office of reconstruction and sustainability in Puerto Rico.
“It was an honor to speak with the mayors today. We had a chance to hear some of their concerns, which is necessary for us to measure the progress in the recovery. We are committed not only to these five mayors, but also to the other 73 mayors on the island,” said Acting FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor.
The mayors expressed their satisfaction with the outcome of their meetings with FEMA. “It was a good meeting since we were able to express ourselves. They listened and provided answers to a lot of issues. They want to see progress, which is what we want too,” said Ponce Mayor, María “Mayita” Meléndez.
Also present at the meetings were Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Alex Amparo, COR3 Executive Director Ottmar Chávez and other local and federal officials.
FEMA, the Government of Puerto Rico and COR3 remain committed in their efforts to expedite recovery funding and reimbursement of all eligible costs.
For more information on the Hurricane María recovery, visit fema.gov/disaster/4339
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362) 711/VRS - Video Relay Service). Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish). TTY call 800-462-7585.
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