Feds to pay 90 percent of Gustav cleanup

ST. MARTINVILLE – Say what you want about George W. Bush but you can also thank him for about $150,000 the parish won’t have to pay for Hurricane Gustav cleanup.

Gov. Bobby Jindal – who deserves some credit himself for lobbying for it – announced that Bush approved an increase in the federal government’s share of the public assistance program related to Gustav.

That means instead of 75 percent of the estimated $1 million cleanup costs here in St. Martin Parish, FEMA will pick up 90 percent, said Parish President Guy Cormier, relaying the news to the Parish Council on Tuesday.

“That will save us $150,000, leaving us to pay $100,000 out-of-pocket on a cleanup that will cost a million dollars at the end of the day,” Cormier said.

Hurricane Gustav, which hit on Labor Day, caused widespread wind damage to trees. Most of the cleanup costs are related to getting that debris off the streets and into the appropriate landfills.

Jindal, in breaking the news, called the increase “helpful” but said he would continue to push for 100 percent reimbursement for Gustav.

“Full federal cost share was granted to Texas for Hurricane Ike, and later to Louisiana as well for that storm,” the governor said.

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