Mississippi County awaits word on FEMA flood funds
Sunday, September 18, 2011
CHARLESTON, Mo. -- Mississippi County officials are hoping a freeze on FEMA funding thaws out as expected.
The status of disaster relief reimbursements from FEMA were again the chief topic of discussion during the Mississippi County Commission's regular meeting Thursday.
As of Sept. 6, the county has submitted $1,259,396 in total costs to FEMA on project worksheets, according to County Clerk Junior DeLay.
With the FEMA reimbursement rate of 75 percent, the county is anticipating eventually receiving almost $945,000 for those projects.
The county has only received $2,283.68 so far, DeLay said.
"It was on one of the smallest projects: repairs on two vehicles," he said.
On Aug. 10, FEMA sent payments totaling about $62,700 for three other projects to the state but the State Emergency Management Agency has yet to forward that money to the county, according to DeLay.
"SEMA is behind on their paperwork," he said.
As for any additional disaster relief, "permanent project funding has been frozen," DeLay said.
County officials are seeking assistance from U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt and Rep. Jo Ann Emerson in getting FEMA funding to assist in getting the county recovery efforts back on track.
Based on prior fiscal years, "they expect Oct. 1, funds will start flowing again," DeLay said. "That is their best hope -- that it happens."
County officials have received correspondence from Tom Schulte, Blunt's district office director, advising the Senate passed a disaster aid package on Tuesday that would send $6.9 billion in new funding to FEMA but Republicans in the House are pushing for any emergency aid to be offset by spending cuts elsewhere.
"Work is continuing to gain access to areas devastated by the flooding," Commissioner Robert Jackson said regarding the county's efforts to recover from the intentional breaching of the Birds Point-New Madrid levee by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "County crews are working as hard as they can."
Presiding Commissioner Carlin Bennett said areas where there is no access at all yet will take precedence over improving rough routes to places that have access of some kind.