Congressional delegation backs county’s bid for FEMA reimbursement

katrinaJACKSON COUNTY — Mississippi lawmakers representing South Mississippi are throwing their support behind an effort by Jackson County to be reimbursed for nearly $1 million spent on disaster recovery projects undertaken after Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac.

U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), have sent a letter supporting the Jackson County appeals to Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Jackson County is appealing FEMA’s determination that its reimbursement claims on four disaster recovery projects, including a hazardous storage facility, are ineligible for federal funding.

“We believe Jackson County has a convincing case for receiving FEMA funding for these projects, which are related to the long recovery process that follows major disasters,” Cochran said.

“Local officials in Jackson County and throughout South Mississippi continue running into red tape over routine disaster recovery repairs that should be easily approved,” Palazzo said. “Funds are appropriated to disaster recovery accounts with the understanding that they will be used to help local communities get back on their feet following natural disasters. Our local officials took initiative and acted in good faith to complete these repairs; it is time for the federal government to uphold their end of the bargain.”

Jackson County would like FEMA to approve a total of $993,491 related to the following projects:

  • Hurricane Katrina, Project Worksheet #9376:  Old Jackson County Courthouse repairs, Pascagoula, $645,236
  • Hurricane Katrina, Project Worksheet #8469 and #8472:  Heinz Building and Hazardous Storage Building repairs, Pascagoula, $292,743
  • Hurricane Isaac, Project Worksheet #628:  Octavia Street boat launch and pier restoration, Ocean Springs, $55,512

“These recovery projects are a direct result of damage sustained from Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac and are imperative to restoring the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  We fully support Jackson County’s requests to appeal FEMA’s initial determination that denied eligibility of the claims,” the Mississippi congressional delegation members wrote Fugate.

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