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Metro Newsroom

Mayor Seeks Federal Disaster Assistance for Flood

Thursday August 6, 2009

Millions in Damages to Government Property

Mayor Jerry Abramson today began the formal process to seek federal disaster assistance to help pay for millions of dollars in damages to Louisville Metro Government property.

City officials are still working to tabulate the estimated cost of the damages to government buildings, equipment and roadways, but it will run into the millions of dollars, Abramson said.

“For the third time in less than a year, we have been slammed by a natural disaster that has seriously damaged property and disrupted lives throughout our community,” Abramson said. “We will seek all federal and state assistance possible to help recover from Tuesday’s flash flooding.”

More than 30 Louisville Metro Government buildings were damaged, with some of the most extensive damage at the Louisville Free Public Library main branch and the Metro Animal Services facility.

Uninsured damage to state-owned property and clean-up expenses will also count toward the $5.2 million threshold to qualify for federal assistance. More than 30 University of Louisville buildings and 40 Jefferson County Public School buildings were damaged by flood waters.

Abramson is working closely with the offices of Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth to ensure Louisville receives reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

FEMA pays for 75 percent of eligible claims, including damage to government property and some costs associated with managing and recovering from the disaster. The Commonwealth of Kentucky and Louisville Metro Government will share the remaining 25 percent of the eligible costs.

Louisville Metro Government is self insured but has supplemental flood insurance that will likely cover much of the property damage.

Homeowner assistance efforts

Louisville Metro officials are working today with the Kentucky National Guard and Kentucky Emergency Management to survey damages to homes throughout Louisville to determine whether Louisville can meet the threshold to qualify for low-interest loans to homeowners who suffered major damage.

To meet the federal standard for low-interest loans, Louisville would have to document more than 100 homes damaged beyond repair and uninhabitable, said Doug Hamilton, director of Louisville Emergency Management Agency.

Abramson said he will work with Rep. Yarmuth, Gov. Beshear and federal disaster officials to explore other assistance options for uninsured and underinsured homeowners devastated by flash flooding.

“In the aftermath of another devastating storm, Mayor Abramson, Governor Beshear and I are working closely together to secure every available federal resource for our community.” said Congressman Yarmuth. “Louisville families and business owner have endured far too much over the past year and we are committed to doing everything possible to ensure that they fully recover from this disaster.”