February 6, 2009
Gov. Nixon Requests Major Disaster Declaration to Assist Communities Impacted by Winter Storms
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Addressing a meeting of the County Commissioners Association of Missouri, Governor Jay Nixon today announced that he is asking President Barack Obama for a major disaster declaration for 22 Missouri counties to speed recovery and help get Missourians back to work in the aftermath of the recent winter storm. In thanking county officials for their prompt response to the storm, Governor Nixon noted also that his request asks for a waiver of some or all of the 25 percent of costs ordinarily paid by state and local governments after the issuance of a major disaster declaration.
On Jan. 30, President Obama granted Missouri an emergency disaster declaration in response to Governor Nixon's request. That declaration allows the state to receive federal assistance to pay its costs related to the storm The declaration of a major disaster sought today by Governor Nixon would entitle affected county and local entities to millions in federal funds for disaster related costs.
"I am asking the President to issue this major disaster declaration so that communities affected by the recent winter storms, including counties, local governments and rural electric cooperatives that have sustained severe damage, will have the resources necessary to return rapidly to business as usual," Gov. Nixon said.
"Further, I am requesting that President Obama and the Federal Emergency Management Agency waive the requirement that state and local public entities pay a portion of these costs. This disastrous storm struck at a difficult economic moment, and I believe it is critical that Missourians have access to all available resources in getting back up and running," Gov. Nixon added.
The declaration of a major disaster by the President usually provides federal payment for 75 percent of disaster-related costs, while the additional 25 percent must be covered by the state, county and local governments and other public entities. Governor Nixon's request would go a step further by asking that some or all of the 25 percent local funding component be waived.
The State Emergency Management Agency and its federal counterpart have compiled up-to-date disaster assessments in all of the counties which have asked to be included in the major disaster declaration. Emergency management agencies estimate those counties and municipalities along with electric cooperatives in the area have sustained $193 million in damage.
If granted, Governor Nixon’s request would assist the 22 counties requesting assistance in recovering from the damage caused by this major storm. Those counties are Barry, Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Douglas, Dunklin, Howell, Madison, Mississippi, New Madrid, Oregon, Ozark, Pemiscot, Reynolds, Ripley, Scott, Shannon, Stoddard, Stone, Taney, and Wayne.
Joint Damage Assessments will begin next week to collect information to support a Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance for citizens and businesses impacted by the winter storm and power outages.