Perry asks for extension of Ike federal assistance
Gov. Rick Perry has requested that FEMA extend for 18 months its agreement to pay 100 percent of emergency protective measures and debris removal for Hurricane Ike. He also asked federal officials to adjust the federal cost share to 100 percent for all categories of public assistance and expand direct federal assistance and hazard mitigation for all counties included in the governor’s original emergency declaration.
“Hurricane Ike did at least $11 billion in damage to our state,” Perry said. “Texas deserves the same level of federal support and attention given to other states that have recently endured disasters.”
In his letter to President Bush, Perry noted that Hurricane Ike may be the costliest disaster in the history of Texas. To date, more than 700,000 households have registered for individual assistance and more than $250 million has been disbursed to individuals.
In some cases regarding the local level costs of a disaster, the federal government will provide 75 percent reimbursement and the remaining 25 percent of costs must come from the pockets of the local jurisdictions. In his letter, Perry highlighted past instances where the federal cost share was adjusted to 100 percent reimbursement, including after the 2005 hurricane season in Louisiana and after Hurricane Andrew’s devastation in Florida. He emphasized that Texas be treated no differently in the case of Hurricane Ike as many communities will require time and assistance to recover from this devastating storm.
Perry also announced the initial disbursement of $650,000 in Texas Disaster Relief Fund grants. To date, the following funds have been distributed: Southeast Texas Food Bank ($125,000); Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas ($90,000); Houston Food Bank ($75,000); Orange Christian Services ($75,000); YMCA of Greater Houston ($75,000); Catholic Charities of Houston ($50,000); Southeast Texas Emergency Health Network ($50,000); Texas Food Bank Network ($50,000); Sabine Pass Emergency Organization for Disaster Relief ($25,000); Some Other Place ($25,000); Sam’s Club ($10,000).
A definition of Public Assistance categories is as follows:
•Category A: Debris removal – clearance of trees and woody debris; building wreckage; sand, mud silt and gravel; vehicles; and other disaster-related material deposited on public and, in very limited cases, private property.
•Category B: Emergency Protective Measures – measurers taken before, during and after a disaster to save lives, protect public health and safety, and protect improved public and private property.
•Category C: Roads and Bridges – Repair of roads, bridges, and associated features, such as shoulders, ditches, culverts, lighting and signs.
•Category D: Water Control Facilities – repair of irrigation systems, drainage channels and pumping facilities. Repair of levees, dams and channels. The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have primary authority for repair of flood control works.
•Category E: Buildings and Equipment – Repair or replacement of buildings, including their contents and systems; heavy equipment; and vehicles.
•Category F: Utilities – Repair of water treatment and delivery systems; power generation facilities and distribution lines; and sewage collection and treatment facilities.
•Category G: Parks, Recreational Facilities, and Other Items – Repair and restoration of parks, playgrounds, pools, cemeteries and beaches. This category also is used for any work or facility that cannot be characterized adequately by Categories A-F.
The governor issued his original reimbursement request on Sept. 13, noting that emergency work and recovery efforts had been impeded by flooding and power outages, and cleanup efforts were likely to be an ongoing effort. The reimbursement period is currently set to end on October 27.
To view the governor’s letter to President Bush and for more information on Texas’ recovery efforts after Hurricane Ike, please visit www.governor.state.tx.us.