August 4, 2011
Denial by federal government to extend expedited debris removal program will not stop State's commitment and resolve to stand by Joplin, Governor says
Gov. Nixon says State of Missouri will cover the full portion of state/local share of expedited debris removal costs, which will increase to 25 percent after Aug. 7
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Jay Nixon today announced that the State of Missouri will pay the full 25 percent of the state/local cost necessary to complete the expedited debris removal in areas that suffered catastrophic or extensive damage from the devastating tornado that hit the Joplin area on May 22.
The Governor received notification last night that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had denied Missouri's request to extend the Expedited Debris Removal Program in Joplin. And while the decision by the will dramatically increase the state/local cost burden, he said the State of Missouri will cover those increased costs, without requiring a local contribution, and complete the mission of rebuilding Joplin.
Gov. Nixon had requested an extension of the program beyond Aug. 7, so that the federal government would continue to pay 90 percent of the costs of debris removal from areas that received catastrophic or extensive damage from the devastating May 22 tornado. That request was denied on Wednesday, meaning the federal government will only pay for 75 percent of the expedited debris removal costs incurred after Aug. 7.
"Since the moment the tornado hit, Missourians have stepped forward to provide an overwhelming response to help this community rebuild," Gov. Nixon said, speaking from a Joplin neighborhood within the Expedited Debris Removal area. "Citizen-Soldiers from the Missouri National Guard, local contractors, and thousands of volunteers have worked tirelessly, and in an orderly fashion, to clear the debris and prepare to rebuild. We've made tremendous progress, but the work is not complete, not yet.
"But make no mistake: we will complete this mission," the Governor said. "We will continue to move trucks. We will continue to clear parcels. We will continue to move this community forward. The State of Missouri will continue to stand with the people of Joplin throughout this process. Together, we will rebuild this vibrant community."
Earlier this week, Gov. Nixon announced that the State of Missouri would cover the full 10 percent of the state/local share of the costs of the Expedited Debris Removal Program, without requiring a local contribution. Today, he said his administration will cover the full 25 percent of those expenses, without expecting local jurisdictions to provide any match.
"As we move forward, we will do so with extreme accountability and fiscal responsibility," Gov. Nixon said. "We will ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent in the most efficient and effective manner possible to expedite debris removal, recovery and rebuilding here in Joplin, and to get this job done."
Gov. Nixon has reserved $150 million in the state budget to help expedite rebuilding and recovery efforts, and those funds will help cover these costs. Financing for disaster recovery will be a key topic to be addressed by the General Assembly during the special session in September.
"While our cost burden will now increase, our determination will not diminish," Gov. Nixon said. "Rebuilding Joplin is a mission Missouri will complete."
The Governor also repeated his administration's commitment to meet the housing needs of the Joplin area, as a result of the thousands of homes destroyed or badly damaged. That commitment has been termed Jumpstart Joplin, a $122 million initiative.
Gov. Nixon announced in Joplin today that the Missouri Housing Development Commission - as part of Jumpstart Joplin - had earlier in the day approved $10 million in construction loans for single-family homes. Those loans will be available immediately because of today's vote. The MHDC also has taken the next step on making $100 million in low-income housing tax credits available for permanent housing development by sending its plan out for public comment.