FEMA OK’s 90 percent Reimbursements for Towns Hit by Superstorm Sandy
Smith Met w/ FEMA Head Craig Fugate June 6 to Ask for Increase
New Jersey Sandy recovery efforts will receive a boost with the announcement that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will reimburse communities at a rate of 90 percent for certain Sandy related expenses, said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04).
Smith met with FEMA highest official, Administrator Craig Fugate, earlier this month to press for the increase and discuss FEMA’s ongoing New Jersey flood recovery efforts during a meeting in Rep. Smith’s Washington office.
At the meeting, Administrator Fugate did let it be known that he expected and would recommend moving to a 90-10 federal share for FEMA funding. Smith said, “This decision will greatly help New Jersey communities still dealing with significant damage issues as a result of tropical storm Sandy, while trying to figure out potential ratable losses. The move from a 75-25 percent federal-local cost share to a 90-10 split, which will be retroactive, will make the path forward a little more clear and help with municipal budget planning.”
This approval which will be for all categories from A to G will provide an immediate and additional $262 million for already obligated funding and it will cover all additional local government approved funding. These categories cover: Public Assistance Grant emergency work and permanent work including debris removal; emergency protective measures; road systems and bridges; water control facilities; buildings; contents and equipment; utilities, and; parks.
“Being assured of a 90–10 percent split was necessary to continue our rebuilding process. The new cost share will greatly ease local decision-making and help planning future budgets,” Smith said.
“With a number of vital issues still facing homeowners, businesses, and government agencies as we enter the first summer tourist season after Sandy, it is apparent we need a discernible path forward,” said Smith. “It has been five months since Congress approved $60-plus billion in federal funding for Superstorm Sandy relief with passage of the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act (H.R. 152) on January 28, 2013, and eight months since Sandy wreaked havoc along New Jersey’s coast.”
Smith took a lead role in obtaining federal disaster relief funding for Superstorm Sandy victims. At the June meeting, Smith and Fugate also discussed FEMA’s advisory flood maps, homeowner flood insurance, pending legislative initiatives to ease future flood insurance burdens, and Smith’s House-passed legislation to provide needed assistance to houses of worship, which are now exempt from receiving federal aid.