At the direction of Governor Brian Kemp last week, the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency requested an increase in the federal cost share for FEMA Public Assistance programs to 100 percent for Spalding County and Butts County, in response to the severe storms and tornadoes that impacted the state on January 12, 2023. To date, costs for debris removal and emergency response in the hardest hit areas exceeds $15 million.
“Spalding and Butts Counties received catastrophic damages from the storms, impacting both lives and livelihoods significantly,” said Governor Kemp. “As we continue to support those affected, I want us to ensure they have the resources needed to return to normalcy and that we do all we can to remove any bureaucratic barriers in their way. Additional assistance from FEMA will help us in this effort and directly benefit families in need.”
FEMA traditionally provides reimbursement of the costs of a federally declared disaster up to 75 percent, however, in instances where local government’s ability to absorb the costs exceeds their resources, the state can request 100 percent reimbursement. With resources stretched thin following the COVID-19 response and multiple instances of severe weather and tornadoes in 2021 and 2022, the request is essential to providing adequate assistance to Georgians struggling to recover from the disaster.
“Spalding and Butts Counties are making excellent use of the resources they have already been provided, but need more,” said GEMA/HS Director Chris Stallings. “With their continued good stewardship of federal money for recovery, an increase in funding could aid in the process exponentially.”