FEMA funding nearly capped

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 2, 2010

To date figures show the county has received funding to cover nearly all of the estimated $3.9 million in damages for March 2009’s flooding incident.

County administrator Brenda Petty said as of Thursday, records show the county had collected a total of $3,878,153 in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds.

However, the latest talks with FEMA officials have yielded no clue as to when the county will receive funding for the bulk of damages sustained during the December 2009 flooding, county engineer Darren Capps said.

“We did receive money for barricades and debris removal then but nothing since then,” Capps said. “But, neither has anyone else. I talked with FEMA last week who couldn’t give any indication (on when funding will arrive.)”

Petty said those projects totaled slightly more than $20,000 – a figure that is a long way from the estimated $5.5 million the county looks to receive from FEMA for those December damages when more than 60 local roadways suffered damages as rains caused flooding, road closures and bridge damages.

“We were lucky to get March funding,” Capps said. “Some counties didn’t even get that.”

Capps said it is likely to take through the end of the year before all the projects from the March flooding are completed.

FEMA officials have announced the agency was running out of money after responding to 18 natural disasters in 16 states in March, when the House voted to give the agency an additional $5.1 billion. Since then, the number of winter storms, flooding and other natural disasters has mounted.

Attempts to win support for additional funding have been unsuccessful, and a currently proposed bill that would release FEMA funds is attached to a funding bill for the Afghanistan war.