City approves post-tornado emergency measures; assistance widens

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI — Hattiesburg City Council has approved measures further related to the aftermath of the Feb. 10 tornado.

The Hattiesburg American reports the council last night approved the state of emergency declaration, signed on Feb. 10, and approved agreements with Pine Belt Solid Waste Authority and Waste Management to dispose of storm debris in landfills.

The council also voted to suspend permitting fees for building projects in the city for those affected by the storm. Residents still must apply for the permits, but they will not be charged.

Also, the council approved a professional services agreement with Schaus LLC to assist with FEMA documentation for work projects and reimbursement documentation.

Also yesterday, Gov. Phil Bryant announced that FEMA designated public assistance categories A through G to Marion and Wayne counties, and categories C through G to Forrest and Lamar counties. Forrest and Lamar counties were declared on Feb. 13 for individual assistance and public assistance categories A and B.

Public Assistance covers government and certain nonprofit’s costs associated with the following:

• Category A: Debris

• Category B: Emergency Protective Measures

• Category C: Roads and Bridges

• Category D: Water Control Facilities

• Category E: Buildings and Equipment

• Category F: Utilities

• Category G: Parks and Recreation Facilities

Through the PA program, FEMA provides supplemental federal disaster grant assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities and facilities of certain private non-profit organizations. The federal share is not less than 75 percent of the eligible cost for emergency measures and permanent restoration of public buildings and infrastructure.

All four counties have been granted individual assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s individual assistance program helps eligible applicants with temporary housing assistance, uninsured personal property losses and medical, dental and funeral expenses caused by the disaster, along with other disaster-related expenses and serious needs. Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are available to cover residential and business losses not covered by insurance.

Anyone with damages in these counties may apply now by going to www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). C-Spire Wireless customers can call #362 to register. The speech or hearing impaired may call (TTY) 1-800-462-7585.

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