Public assistance for last flood granted in full
State approved 10 percent reimbursement for county entities
With public assistance granted for public entities across the state as a result of flooding in December 2015, Barry County road districts, cities and school districts are in the process of applying for reimbursements.
According to David Compton, Barry County Emergency Management Office director, the 75-percent match from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) was granted, but the 10-percent match from the State Emergency Management Administration (SEMA) was on the fence until late last week.
"The state confirmed to us on Friday afternoon we will get the 10 percent," Compton said. "That's about $500,000 for the county, and about $4 million to $5 million statewide."
Compton said public entities in the county worked with State Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, and State Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob to get the state match. Compton said the legislators were in contact with FEMA, SEMA, the Missouri Department of Public Safety and Gov. Jay Nixon's Office to work out the details.
While at Roaring River State Park on Opening Day, Nixon said the state match was on its way.
"We are in the process of working with the feds to get the 75 percent, then we will do our traditional 10-percent supplement," Nixon said on March 1, three days before Compton received word it was granted. "We'll make sure everything is back to where it was, rest assured."
Compton said in public assistance briefings recently, Barry County entities have been well-prepared with information.
"Barry County agencies have shown up and had good documentation, including pictures," he said. "They have done the right things."
Compton said the county saw about $3.5 million in damages, and by the end of public assistance documentation, that number could climb to $4 million or $5 million.
"Right now, local agencies are on the hook for about $500,000 all together," he said. "Over the next [couple weeks], FEMA project officers should be in the county making plans."
Barry County in recent weeks has also held a kickoff meeting for updating its Hazard Mitigation Plan, which must be assessed and updated every five years. The Southwest Missouri Council of Governments met Feb. 29 to discuss the plan, which is required for local entities to be eligible for Hazard Mitigation Program Grant funding.
As required by federal law, a local jurisdiction must review and revise its plan to reflect changes in development, progress in local mitigation efforts and changes in priorities, and the jurisdiction must resubmit it for approval every five years to continue to be eligible for grant funding. The Barry County Multi-Jurisdictional Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan is a revision of the previous five-year update completed in January 2012.
"Three more meetings will be scheduled soon," Compton said. "One of the Southwest Missouri Council of Governments members works on [the plan] full time, and there are five college students who work on the plan as a course practicum. We assign each of those students a hazard to prepare for, like tornadoes, winter weather, floods, etc."
Compton said the updated plan will be completed by early summer, then put out for public comment before being sent to SEMA on Oct. 1. Governmental entities within the county will also be asked to pass a resolution accepting the plan.
"SEMA will submit it to FEMA, and we expect them to approve it by the end of this year," Compton said. "The mitigation plan has to be complete to apply for any pre- or post-disaster funding. It's basically a 250-page document that looks at all the vulnerabilities in the county."
A copy of the 2012 Barry County Hazard Mitigation Plan is available at the SMCOG website: smcog.missouristate.edu. All comments and questions should be directed to Dave Faucett at 417-836-6901, or firstname.lastname@example.org.