City to get another 2 percent from FEMA

The City of Eunice’s response in the wake of Hurricane Gustav has qualified for additional reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Administration.

According to Mayor Bob Morris, FEMA is going to repay the city another 2 percent of its submitted debris collection and removal costs because of Eunice’s agreement to participate in pilot FEMA program.

Earlier, FEMA asked the city, on the basis of its “efficient and effective” debris program to take part in a pilot program that will prepare step-by-step response plans for use after any future disasters.

For agreeing to participate, FEMA said it would pay the city an additional 5 percent on its submitted Gustav costs, as opposed to the standard 75 percent.

The latest reimbursement notice means the city is eligible for 82 percent recovery from FEMA, the mayor said.

The federal agency has approved three Eunice worksheets for payment, Morris said.

The city’s submitted debris costs were around $88,000. Standard reimbursement from FEMA would mean about $66,000. The gain from the pilot program additions is about another $6,100.

And yet another unexpected benefit has accrued from the city’s pilot program acknowledgement.

Morris said FEMA representatives said the agency will include Street Department straight time in eligible payroll expenses.

Ordinarily, public employee overtime expense necessary to remove and dispose of debris is covered, but regular wage and salary expense is not.

Morris said about $10,000 of the $32,000 debris payroll costs was regular time, or pay that would have been incurred without storm cleanup.

The mayor said one Gustav recovery project outstanding - repair to damage at the Buddy Fay Memorial Tennis Complex - has been delayed by the demand for repairs caused by that storm and Hurricane Rita shortly thereafter.

Gustav tore up fencing at the tennis complex.

Morris said the demand for fencing and fencing contractors after the hurricanes has hindered the city’s effort at repairing the complex.

He said as recently as last week a potential contractor looked at the damage but as of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving had not submitted any written estimate on the repair.

The mens and womens tennis leagues have completed their fall seasons and Morris said the city hopes to contract the repairs for completion before the spring season.

Last year between the fall and spring seasons, the city contracted for repair and resurfacing to the courts.

It also agreed to add two new courts, using a state appropriation arranged by Rep. Mickey Guillory and State Sen. Eric LaFleur.

Eight courts would allow the city to host post-season prep tennis tournaments.

Gov. Bobby Jindal vetoed the spending, along with a number of other projects he classified as more local than regional.

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