Thursday, June 10, 2010
Officials explain disaster program
By SUE WATSON
Experts with the Federal and Mississippi Emergency Management Agencies (FEMA, MEMA) recently visited Holly Springs and explained the rules and procedures for obtaining disaster relief funds.
The funds can be used to pay for infrastructure damages following a flood in May that washed out culverts and damaged roads in Marshall County.
A seven-county area was included in the declaration which made the counties of Marshall, Union, Benton, Tippah, Alcorn, Tishomingo, and Prentiss eligible for relief.
John Manley, representing FEMA, explained the seven categories of infrastructure eligible for federal and state replacement dollars at a 75:12.5:12.5 federal, state, local cost share. The federal/state agencies determine eligibility and reimburse local governments for eligible costs to replace damaged infrastructure.
Marshall County and Holly Springs employees, county supervisors, and chancery clerk Chuck Thomas attended the meeting where the details of the program and lines of responsibility were laid out.
The program will accept projects like debris removal and disposal; emergency protective measures to protect property and lives of citizens; work that covers repair of roads, bridges, and culverts; water control systems (retention ponds, levies, dams); buildings and equipment damaged by storm; utilities - water, lights, sewer, gas; and parks, recreational and fairground facility damages.
Regulations upon accepting the funds includes a thorough record keeping and documentation of approved work, Manley said.
Tom Brooks, environmental specialist, reviewed regulations involving projects that may be covered under the National Environmental Policy Act. Those projects would include measures to protect environmental structures, historical structures, debris removal, movement of materials from areas that may be protected by surface mining regulations, solid waste, historical preservation and replacing utility poles. There are no threatened or endangered species in Marshall County, he said.
Willie Wanso introduced himself as the MEMA representative in charge of handling paperwork.
Several areas dealing with hazard mitigation that can be funded include the Section 404 mitigation and the Section 406 mitigation plan of the Stafford or Emergency Management Act. The 406 mitigation plan is the one likely to come into play in this declaration and includes items like damage to roads and culverts and erosion control, Manley said.
Individuals with damages to their private property as a result of the storms in April/May can call Manley at FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 or MEMA at 1-601-933-6696 to ask if their their losses will qualify for funds to repair damages.
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