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Posted: September 30, 2009 12:30 a.m.

FEMA disaster assistance expands for local governments

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials announced disaster assistance is expanding to five Georgia counties to help pay for emergency measures and to repair, restore or replace public facilities damaged or destroyed by this month’s severe storms and flooding.

"We have been working with state and local officials on damage assessments and, after further review, Cherokee, Crawford, DeKalb, Fulton and Newton counties are now eligible for all categories of public assistance," Federal Coordinating Officer Gracia Szczech said.

Funding, on a cost-share basis, can reimburse communities for emergency work associated with the disaster and to repair or replace flood-damaged infrastructure.

Projects fall into the following categories:

• Category A: Debris Removal

• Category B: Emergency Protective Measures

• Category C: Road Systems and Bridges

• Category D: Water Control Facilities

• Category E: Public Buildings and contents

• Category F: Public Utilities

• Category G: Parks, Recreational and other

Nine counties already had been designated for public assistance: Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cobb, Douglas, Gwinnett, Paulding, Stephens and Walker.

Under the cost-share program, FEMA public assistance funds 75 percent of the cost for eligible work by state and local governments and certain nonprofit organizations that provide public services. The remaining 25 percent non-federal share comes from state and local sources. The state manages the grants for all projects.

President Barak Obama’s major disaster declaration on Sept. 24 immediately provided individual assistance to hard-hit Georgia counties. In 17 designated counties, homeowners and renters who suffered uninsured damages or loss as a result of the flooding may be eligible for disaster grants for temporary housing, home repair and other needs not met by other sources. Homeowners, renters and owners of businesses of all sizes may also be eligible for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The counties designated for individual assistance are Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett, Heard, Newton, Paulding, Rockdale, Stephens and Walker counties.

All counties within Georgia are eligible to apply for assistance under FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Program.

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