Gov. Jay Nixon today pledged $25 million in state funds to help counties and communities with their costs of responding to the historic flooding that has affected much of southern and southeast Missouri.
The money will help those local governments with rebuilding efforts, and also will help pay for the costs of deploying nearly 800 citizen-soldiers of the Missouri National Guard to help local law enforcement with flood response efforts.
Missouri law gives the Governor authority in times of emergency to direct resources from the state budget to pay for state and local disaster recovery efforts and to defray the costs of the National Guard when deployed to help in those emergencies.
Last night, the President issued a major disaster declaration for individual assistance in five Missouri counties – Butler, Mississippi, New Madrid, St. Louis and Taney – and public assistance in St. Louis County. Additional counties may be designated as public or individual disaster areas, pending completion of damage assessments.
A major disaster declaration for public damage assistance means the federal government will pay for 75 percent of the eligible costs incurred by state and local authorities in responding to the disaster and for damage to roads and other public infrastructure and buildings. The Governor’s pledge ensures that rebuilding and recovery in these areas can begin as quickly as possible.
Gov. Nixon said his administration is looking at every federal and state resource to help local governments, individuals, farmers and businesses with their uninsured costs.
“We are committed to fighting hard for every public funding resource that will help those affected by this historic – and in many cases, record – flooding,” Gov. Nixon said. “That includes the local governments that have stepped forward to protect their citizens during these floods, and which now are faced with the task of rebuilding public roads and other infrastructure.”
Today is the first of two days of local public meetings in southeast Missouri that the State of Missouri is holding to provide local officials, residents, farmers and business owners with information about state resources to help them recover. Senior officials from several state agencies will be on hand at the meetings in Poplar Bluff and Sikeston today, and in Caruthersville, Charleston and New Madrid tomorrow, to provide information and answer questions.
State agencies that will be participating in these meetings include:
• Missouri Department of Public Safety
• Missouri National Guard
• State Emergency Management Agency, including its Faith- and Community-Based Partnership
• Missouri Department of Economic Development
• Missouri Division of Workforce Development
• Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations
• Missouri Division of Employment Security
• Missouri Department of Agriculture
• Missouri Department of Natural Resources
• Missouri Department of Insurance
• Missouri Department of Social Services
• Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Gov. Nixon will be at the first two meetings today; in between, he will go to Caruthersville to have lunch with Citizen-Soldiers of the Missouri National Guard who, among their other flood-relief efforts, helped form a sandbag wall inside the city’s threatened floodwall.
On Monday (May 9), the Governor asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) to conduct damage assessment reports as soon as possible for 56 Missouri counties to determine the extent of damage to farms. The Governor’s request for damage assessments is the first step in the process of declaring counties as primary disaster areas. Primary disaster counties are those that lose at least 30 percent of the estimated yield of a single crop, or where individual farmers suffer production losses of more than 30 percent.
A disaster designation would allow eligible farmers to be considered for assistance from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Farmers who qualify would receive FSA emergency loans or assistance from the federal Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program. Affected farmers would apply to FSA, which considers each application individually on its merits. Farmers in counties contiguous to primary disaster areas also could be eligible for assistance.
For the latest information on flooding and the wide range of assistance the state is providing, visit MO.gov.