Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Governor Asks For Putnam Disaster Declaration

Governor Phil Bredesen has asked President Obama to declare Putnam and nine other Tennessee counties federal disaster areas following the floods of Aug. 16, 2010. The counties include: Clay, Cocke, Hardin, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Smith and Wayne. This request for public assistance will provide reimbursements to local governments in the affected counties for repairing and rebuilding public infrastructure.

"With assistance, these counties will be able to restore damaged infrastructure and get relief from the costs of their emergency responses," Bredesen said, while Representative Henry Fincher of Cookevillle added, "I am glad the Governor issued the request for this declaration. Our local governments need the help that FEMA local government assistance will provide. We also need FEMA individual assistance benefits as well as private donations. I ask all concerned citizens to donate to the Flood Relief Fund set up at our local banks, Putnam First Mercantile and Jackson Bank & Trust."

Areas in the requested counties received an average of six to seven inches of rain, with some areas in Putnam County getting in excess of 11 inches of rainfall. The Aug. 16 flood caused the most severe damage to roads and bridges. The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) public assistance program authorizes state and local governments and public utilities to reclaim expenses related to: debris removal: overtime for response workers: measures taken to protect lives and property: and repairs to roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings, utilities and parks. The federal program will provide a 75 percent reimbursement rate for costs associated with eligible public assistance projects in the affected counties. The state and local governments will split the remaining costs evenly. Utilities are also eligible for the 75 percent reimbursement, but must pay the remaining 25 percent themselves. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is responsible for reviewing the public assistance project applications from local governments, assessing the funding and making the payments to public assistance applicants.