FEMA process moves forward

Published 10:18 am Wednesday, July 27, 2011

State and federal agencies to meet with county officials

Next week starts the first round of talks with state and federal emergency management agencies to see how much money will be needed to repair the massive damage the spring rains did to 21 counties in the state, including Lawrence.

“We will begin Aug. 1 with our rollout meetings with municipalities and affected townships and so forth and will be reviewing with the government informants involved,” Darrell Habisch, FEMA spokesperson, said.

On July 13, President Barack Obama made a disaster declaration for these counties for public assistance funding that would go toward repairing roadways, bridges and other damaged infrastructure.

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Locally the costs to fix the infrastructure damage has been placed at about $16 million including landslides and bridge repairs, according to County Engineer Doug Cade.

FEMA and the state EMA will OK project funding only if it is for state agencies and local governments for work that came about because of a disaster.

There are two categories of work FEMA will cover — emergency work which includes debris removal and permanent work that focuses on roads, bridges, utilities, water control facilities, buildings and equipment and parks.

“We have already accomplished preliminary damage assessments,” Habisch said. “Within a couple of weeks, they will be developing project worksheets. In most cases FEMA will provide up to 75 percent of the projects.”