09/11/17 — $200 million in aid is in doubt

View Archive

$200 million in aid is in doubt

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 11, 2017 5:50 AM

Another $200 million is needed in North Carolina to pay for all of the buyout and house elevation applications the state received in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

But with the disaster now being dealt with in Texas because of Hurricane Harvey, and the pending recovery in Florida from Hurricane Irma, any additional money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency could be in doubt, Wayne County Manager George Wood said.

If the additional funding does not materialize, it would be up to the state to decide whether or not to provide the money, he said.

Wood made his comments after during a Tuesday morning public hearing before Wayne County commissioners on their plan to apply for $25,414,784 in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Relief funds through the N.C. Division of Emergency Management for activities to assist area citizens in their long-term recovery from Hurricane Matthew.

The board voted 7-0 to apply for the grant despite voicing concerns about income requirements tied to the funding.

Wood and County Planner Chip Crumpler reminded commissioners and those at the public hearing that there is no income requirement tied to FEMA money.

However, there is an income requirement on most of the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Relief money, Wood said.

A certain percentage has to go to low-to-moderate income people, he said.

Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Relief money, even when not for disaster relief, goes to low-to-moderate income residents, Wood said.

Wayne County applied for $35 million through the Hurricane Matthew Hazard Mitigation Grant program funded by FEMA.

It received $9 million.

The $35 million was for 331 applications that included 24 for elevation, none of which were accepted, and 307 for acquisition of which only 85 were accepted by the state, Crumpler said.

The Hazard Mitigation money comes from FEMA which is doing the buyout and elevation programs, Wood said.

"They have not provided adequate funding to North Carolina," Wood said. "We are not the only county in this situation. In meetings we have had with state officials, we need about $200 million more to buyout all of these properties and do all of these elevations.

"FEMA has not provided that. So that is where we are. The FEMA money is not tied to income, it is tied to what the damages were. But the state of North Carolina has not received adequate money to buy out all of the people who would qualify or to pay for elevations to the people who would qualify."

The applications are being taken in a specific order the first being if a person is in a 100-year flood plain and the home is owner occupied, he said.