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Flood Affected Counties To Be Reimbursed for Flood Response

By Daniel Cherry | Published 13 Jul 2011 06:21pm | comments

Counties affected by the historic flooding along the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers spent millions of dollars responding to the disaster. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how many local governments are now getting most of that money back.

Workers are repairing the historic train station in downtown Vicksburg. A federal disaster declaration will now cover at least 75 percent of the costs of projects like this.

Vicksburg's mayor, Paul Winfield says debris cleanup and overtime for officers were hard on his city's budget.

"We made sure that we kept our officers posted 24-7 at the water's edge to prevent looting or any kind of incidents of people going out on the water. So that was a pretty significant expense."

Some private nonprofit agencies like rural electric co-ops are also eligible for federal funds. Mike Womack is the Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. He says during these tough economic times, local governments are needing the money more than ever.

"Overall tax revenues are down. There's less funds for local governments to be able to utilize to do this repair work and certainly this debris removal. And some of this work would, quite frankly, not be accomplished if there was not supplemental funding."

Cities from Tunica to Natchez spent large chunks of their general funds up front on the disaster in hopes of receiving the federal dollars later. Mayor Winfield says he's very happy to hear the city will be getting back most of the 500 thousand dollars they've already spent.

"These funds are going to be very welcome once we receive them from FEMA, and then we'll be able to go back to working on the normal municipal operations we normally do."

Debris removal, emergency preventative measures, and infrastructure repairs are just some of what the grants will cover.






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