April 28, 2012 In News
Governor’s Office Presents Town with Grant to Help with Recovery
Smithville—Gov. Phil Bryant joined the town of Smithville today to remember the 16 people who lost their lives in the massive tornadoes that swept through Mississippi last April. The ceremony not only honored the lives lost but also recognized the town’s road to recovery.
To aid that recovery, Gov. Bryant presented the town of Smithville with a grant check for $13,732.16. The funds are part of a grant program through the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. The check covers Smithville’s portion of eligible costs related to public debris removal after an EF-5 tornado destroyed much of the town.
“I am so pleased to be able to bring this grant to Smithville,” Gov. Bryant said. “Disaster recovery is often a long, costly process, and the small local governments that have to shoulder part of that cost are often struggling to rebuild their tax bases after a major emergency. This money will help Smithville get back on its feet.”
Smithville Mayor Greg Kennedy was thankful for the grant and said that the money is one of the little ‘miracles’ that Smithville is grateful for.
“Smithville is finding that recovery is a long, slow process,” Mayor Kennedy said. “It’s hard, and frustrating and expensive! There are days we look around us and shake our heads wondering if we’re ever going to make it—if there is a light at the end of this long, long tunnel.“
“But then, amazingly, little miracles happen,” Kennedy continued. “Folks call offering free volunteer labor, cards and letters of support come in the mail and financial help comes unexpectedly. This is just such a time. We deeply appreciate this help from Gov. Bryant and MDEQ. It is very much needed, and we are grateful for it.”
The grant is the first of many that will be awarded by MDEQ. Following last April’s tornadoes and the flooding of the Mississippi River in May, MDEQ estimates that about 40,000 dump trucks of debris had to be processed and collected throughout Mississippi’s affected counties. The agency says they plan to present similar grants to about 60 communities.
“The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality works closely with communities after disasters to assist with their on the ground debris issues,” said MDEQ executive director Trudy Fisher. “In doing so we became aware of the financial burden being borne by communities for debris removal while coping with a whole host of other issues. We are pleased to support Gov. Bryant’s recovery efforts by finding grant funds and being a small part of easing the financial burden of Smithville and other communities still recovering from the devastating disasters of 2011.”
Following last April’s tornadoes and the flooding of the Mississippi River, 51 counties in Mississippi were declared federal disaster areas, authorizing the flow of government aid.
Reimbursement for eligible debris collection and removal is part of FEMA’s Public Assistance program. Local governments are usually responsible for 12.5 percent of eligible debris costs.
The MDEQ grant program aims to use more than $1.2 million from its Local Government Waste Tire grant fund to help local governments pay their portion of eligible costs.
The waste tire grant fund Funding for waste tire grants is provided by a waste tire account funded from a fee charged on the wholesale sale of every new motor vehicle tire sold in Mississippi. This fee provides the funds to ensure and encourage the proper management and disposal of waste tires in the state.