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Mat-Su Borough seeks federal disaster funds

By Casey Cook, Borough Emergency Manager

Shirley Town Bridge 2012-09-21 1516 2MAT-SU—The Matanuska-Susitna Borough will be requesting reimbursement for repairs to roads, bridges, and a local fire station, as well as for emergency staffing and supplies for the 2012 flood disaster. As part of the recovery efforts, the Borough wants to hear from residents on how to minimize future damages.

The recent federal disaster declaration signed by President Obama on Nov. 27, 2012, allows federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. Federal funds are available to the state, local governments, and some nonprofit organizations for emergency work and repair.  

An estimate for repairs to Borough infrastructure is some $10 million.

Borough staff will be meeting with the State of Alaska and representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to determine all damages, document all repair costs and develop final estimates.  These meetings are scheduled to begin today, Nov. 30.

There is currently no federal declaration for Individual Assistance for private property of individuals, including homes and belongings. However, the State of Alaska’s disaster declaration issued on Sept. 21, 2012, includes avenues for individual assistance. That deadline was Nov. 20 to apply.

The State of Alaska is working with FEMA Region X to gather more information to submit a request for federal funding for individual assistance. Additions to the existing federal declaration can be made at a later date if warranted by the State. Further damage estimates such as groundwater effects on septic systems are being collected and tabulated. Residents are encouraged to maintain contact with the State of Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management regarding their applications for disaster assistance funds. Here is contact info: http://flood.alaska.gov/index.htm

Part of the federal declaration mandates that some funds be dedicated to post-disaster hazard mitigation to minimize future damages or destruction from similar events. The Borough’s Hazard Mitigation Task Force has begun to compile a list of possible hazard mitigation projects that will be submitted under two different FEMA mitigation programs.

The Borough wants to hear from residents before initiating a mitigation project. Please direct your thoughts on mitigation projects to your local community council for submission to the Borough’s Division of Emergency Management.

Questions regarding the disaster declaration process, the status of the recovery efforts, and how it affects Borough residents can be directed to Mat-Su Borough Emergency Manager Casey Cook at casey.cook@matsugov.us or (907) 373-8812.

Image: A gash in the Shirley Towne Bridge from swift waters.

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