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State Government
General Assembly Passes $793 Million Hurricane Florence Recovery Package PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 16 October 2018 08:46

Raleigh, N.C.– Governor Roy Cooper signed into law a $793 million Hurricane Florence relief package bringing the legislature’s total commitment to disaster recovery since the storm to $850 million. With this latest action, the North Carolina General Assembly has allocated over $1.2 billion for hurricane recovery since 2016.

Governor Roy Cooper praised the General Assembly's action. 

"I appreciate legislators responding quickly and taking this initial step to help North Carolinians recover from this devastating storm, particularly in the areas of education and the federal match. However, we must continue to work together to provide more for affordable housing and farmers as well as to make real investments to ensure clean water and to lessen the impacts of future storms on our homes, roads, businesses and water infrastructure."

In a joint statement, state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said, “Since Hurricane Florence hit, we’ve sought to take politics out of the relief effort. Today’s historic, bipartisan aid package is yet another step in a collaborative recovery process that we hope will continue.” 

The Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Fund (HFDRF) appropriates $65 million to provide a state match for federal disaster assistance and another $65 million state match for federal transportation assistance.  It spends $60 million on capital recovery funds for public school facilities and $30 million for capital needs in the University of North Carolina system.  Another $28 million will benefit local governments, while agriculture recovery received $50 million.  More than $30 million was directed to housing recovery support.

Tens of millions more dollars will meet needs in behavioral health, community hospitals, small businesses, community colleges, and mosquito abatement efforts in areas of North Carolina affected by Hurricane Florence.  Funding for coastal beach renourishment, dredging needs, marine debris cleanup, and commercial fishermen were also included in the recovery package.

The measure includes a fix for members of the National Guard who participated in the response to Hurricane Matthew. The bill waives outstanding debt service members owed due to accidental overpayments by the Department of Public Safety (DPS). It also requires DPS to reimburse service members who already repaid the department.

As part of the continuing collaboration among state leaders to respond to the historic storm, officials from the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM), including State Budget Director Charles Perusse, briefed key appropriations leaders and fiscal staff in the North Carolina legislature on Thursday. Participants discussed the Governor’s proposal at length in a productive working session.

OSBM told lawmakers that, consistent with the descriptions contained in the Governor’s report, the needs assessment released this week was a preliminary figure that may change based on further analysis and the availability of additional federal aid. OSBM also said that this is a long-term, five-year plan.

The report indicated that more concrete, on-the-ground data will soon be available to update the preliminary needs assessment, which relied in part on computer modeling. As such, some assessed needs may shift considerably over time as federal aid becomes clearer and damage assessments continue. Education needs, for example, are particularly preliminary, and many of the damage assessments will change in OSBM’s final report, lawmakers and staff heard from administration officials.

OSBM is also working on an estimate of how much funding could be spent in the next six months. They indicated that course corrections may be required over time. Based on this information and the Governor’s report, the legislature appropriated a majority of the funding immediately while preserving maximum flexibility to meet the final needs assessments that are currently ongoing.  

Most of the funding transfer comes from the state’s record $2 billion rainy day fund.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 October 2018 14:18
 
NC Lawmakers Commit To $794 Million To Hurricane Flroence Recovery During Special Session PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 15 October 2018 09:37

 

Legislature will have appropriated over $1.2 billion for disaster relief in less than two years

Lawmakers agree to the Governor’s request for a new Office of Recovery

 

 

Raleigh, N.C.– State lawmakers will allocate $794 million in additional Hurricane Florence relief funding in response to the preliminary needs assessment released earlier this week, bringing the legislature’s total commitment to disaster recovery since the storm to $850 million. For comparison, after Hurricane Matthew, the legislature appropriated $200 million two months after the storm. With this latest action, the North Carolina General Assembly will have allocated over $1.2 billion for hurricane recovery since 2016.

As part of the continuing collaboration among state leaders to respond to the historic storm, officials from the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM), including State Budget Director Charles Perusse, briefed key appropriations leaders and fiscal staff in the North Carolina legislature on Thursday. Participants discussed the Governor’s proposal at length in a productive working session.

OSBM told lawmakers that, consistent with the descriptions contained in the Governor’s report, the needs assessment released this week was a preliminary figure that may change based on further analysis and the availability of additional federal aid. OSBM also said that this is a long-term, five-year plan.

The report indicated that more concrete, on-the-ground data will soon be available to update the preliminary needs assessment, which relied in part on computer modeling. As such, some assessed needs may shift considerably over time as federal aid becomes clearer and damage assessments continue. Education needs, for example, are particularly preliminary, and many of the damage assessments will change in OSBM’s final report, lawmakers and staff heard from administration officials.

OSBM is also working on an estimate of how much funding could be spent in the next six months. They indicated that course corrections may be required over time. Based on this information and the Governor’s report, the legislature will appropriate a majority of the funding immediately and preserve maximum flexibility to meet the final needs assessments that are currently ongoing.  

Most of the funding transfer will come from the state’s record $2 billion rainy day fund.

In a joint statement, state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said, First, we’d like to thank OSBM staff for collaborating with the legislature as we develop this relief package. We understand this damage assessment is an early estimate, and we trust that the administration’s analysis is their best effort to deliver numbers as quickly as possible. This has been an exceptionally fast timeline to approve funding relief for storm victims,” they said. “We appreciate the governor’s ongoing recovery efforts and look forward to working together on the implementation of North Carolina’s fourth emergency response package since 2016.”

According to the most recent report on Hurricane Matthew funding, approximately $124 million has been disbursed, $115 million has been awarded, and $121 million remains available out of the total $360 million allocated in prior disaster recovery packages since 2016. 

 
Last Updated on Monday, 15 October 2018 10:02
 
Tropical Storm Michael Bears Down On North Carolina PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 11 October 2018 10:06

As Tropical Storm Michael heads to North carolina, the heaviest rain will fall west of the storm’s track and the strongest winds southeast of the track. The heaviest rains are expected Thursday and Thursday night. Rain will fall statewide, with central North Carolina and the Foothills expecting as much as 7 inches of rain. Eastern North Carolina expects to see the strongest winds, with 24-45 mph sustained winds and gusts up to 50 mph.

High winds plus wet ground are likely to cause downed trees and power lines during the storm. Duke Energy today announced it is projecting 300,000-500,000 power outages in the Carolinas. The company has 6,000 workers ready to restore power once the storm has passed.

Forecasts show coastal areas can expect storm surge and coastal flooding. A Storm Surge Watch (2-4 feet of inundation possible) is in effect for the sound-side of the Outer Banks from Ocracoke Inlet to Duck with 2 to 4 feet of inundation possible.

Heavy rain could cause flash flooding and river flooding. Gov. Cooper cautioned people who live in areas that have been flooded before to keep a close eye on the forecast and to be ready to evacuate if asked to.

To prepare for the storm, Governor Cooper earlier today issued a State of Emergency and waived certain transportation rules. He also activated the National Guard, and 150 troops have reported for duty. The State Fair also delayed its opening from Thursday to Friday due to the storm.

“We know people are storm weary from Florence, but we must not let down our guard for Michael,” Gov. Roy Cooper said.

Tips for Emergency Plans and Supplies Kit:

 

*     Be sure your emergency supply kits have enough bottled water and non-perishable food to sustain each family member for three to seven days. Include a weather radio, flashlight, extra batteries, toiletries, change of clothes, blankets or sleeping bag, rain gear and appropriate footwear. Also include cell phone charger, prescription medicines, copies of important documents, such as birth certificates and insurance policies.

*     Know your evacuation route, and find out where friends and loved ones will be and how to get in touch with them.

*     Plan for your pets. Gather supplies for your pets and put them in an easily-accessible container.

*     Prepare your home. Clean out gutters and clear property of debris that could damage buildings in strong winds.

*     Stay tuned to local news for the latest advisories from the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center (NHC), as well as state and local emergency management officials.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 October 2018 10:09
 
Governor Cooper Calls For $1.5 Billion Hurricane Florence Recovery Package PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 10 October 2018 10:57

Governor Roy Cooper shared preliminary damage estimates from Florence total almost $13 billion. To cover the state portion of recovery, Cooper recommends a robust $1.5 billion package to tackle a smarter, stronger recovery.

“Hurricane Florence devastated our state and left families, businesses and farmers reeling from the impact,” said Governor Cooper. “From this devastation we must seize the opportunity to rebuild smarter and stronger. I have spent the last month visiting survivors, surveying damage, thanking volunteers and first responders, and I know that we will come out better from this tragedy if we can work together.”

Gov. Cooper’s recommends that the legislature make an initial down payment by funding $750 million, or half of the total state portion, when it returns for special session next week.

For context, Hurricane Matthew caused $4.8 billion in damages and Hurricane Floyd caused between $7 and $9.4 billion in damages when adjusted for inflation, meaning Florence caused roughly as much damage as Floyd and Matthew combined.

Cooper’s recommendations include the following highlights: 

*     $176 million for a Homeowner Repair and Rehabilitation Fund to help homeowners and renters

*     $180 million for the State Acquisition and Relocation Fund to buyout, acquire and reconstruct homes outside the 100-year floodplain

*     $50 million for the Housing Finance Agency to address the shortage of affordable housing

*     $12 million for the Back@Home Rapid Rehousing Program

*     $20 million for small business loans and grants

*     $5 million in assistance for Historically Underutilized Businesses

*     $200 million for the NC Farmer Recovery Reinvestment Program to help farmers

*     $75 million for the NC Farmer Resiliency Fund for hog farm buyouts and incentives to convert open lagoons

*     $12 million in Commercial Fishing Assistance

*     $25 million for Wastewater and Drinking Water Grants to promote resiliency to help systems withstand future storms

*     $25 million to Golden LEAF to provide infrastructure grants to restore water and sewer systems and repair storm drainage systems

*     $25 million to the Clean Water Management Trust Fund for flood abatement and surface water quality protection and improvement

*     $5 million for a Dam Repair Cost Share Fund

*     $88 million for flood-mapping projects, flood mitigation studies and planning

*     $14 million to the City of Lumberton to support floodgates for the VFW Road underpass

*     $25 million to help local governments with an Emergency Repairs and Renovation Reserve

*     $25 million to Golden LEAF to help local governments repair and rebuild government facilities

*     $50 million to leverage federal transportation money to build more resilient roads to mitigate effects of extreme weather

*     $25 million in Flexible Emergency Funding for Public School Operations

*     $10 million for Stay-in-School Assistance to help university and community college students

*     $47 million for Mental Health Services

*     $3 million for Substance Use Treatment Programs

*     $10 million to establish the Office of Recovery and Resiliency to streamline recovery programming and assistance

*     $13 million to Department of Environmental Quality to address critical operational support and staffing for responding to and recovering from disasters

*     $10 million in Rebuilding and Capacity Grants to help financially distressed local governments to support two-person rebuilding teams

*     $10 million in Emergency Financial Assistance Grants for local governments that need immediate cash flow assistance

*     $24 million in Cash Flow Assistance to Distressed Agencies to help when federal awards greatly exceed small, local government operating budgets and cash reserves

Governor Cooper said his team is ready to work with legislative leaders in a bipartisan effort to get resources to North Carolinians who need them most. The General Assembly will convene October 15 to consider how much aid to provide.

 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 October 2018 11:00
 
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