Federal Disaster Declaration Enables Cost Recovery for State and Local Governments

The recent “derecho” storms hitting Maryland triggered widespread damage and service interruptions, causing many governments to expend overtime resources to reach citizens and restore essential services.

The federal government has recently declared the event a disaster, in practice meaning that the affected government agencies may apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for reimbursement of certain local costs. From coverage in the Baltimore Sun (limited free views available):

The disaster declaration covers the storms and winds from June 29 through July 8. Federal funding is now available to the state and local governments and some nonprofits for emergency work and repairs to facilities in Baltimore City and Calvert, Charles, Kent, Montgomery and St. Mary’s counties.

Others areas may be added if requested by the state and warranted by damage assessments, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said.

With the declaration, FEMA may cover at least 75 percent of the eligible costs of repairing or replacing damaged roads, bridges, utilities, buildings, schools, recreational areas and other publicly owned property in the affected area. The agency may also make payments to certain nonprofit organizations engaged in community service.

FEMA may also cover up to 75 percent of the approved costs for hazard-mitigation projects undertaken by the state and local governments to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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