State legislators have announced that the planned state budget will include the creation of a Reserve for Disaster Relief that will initially be filled with $60 million.
The funds are to be used for emergency response, risk management, and infrastructure development needs in the event of another natural disaster.
The allocation comes on the heels of $100 million appropriations in both of the last two budget cycles.
“It is our duty to taxpaying families and businesses to save and prepare for unexpected emergencies just like they do,” House Speaker Rep. Tim Moore said (R-Cleveland). “In addition to our record rainy day reserve fund, the Reserve for Disaster Relief will work to keep our citizens secure in the event of a natural disaster.”
More than $25 million of the reserve is set to be earmarked for housing needs like elevation, acquisition, and mitigation reconstruction for residences not covered by federal grant programs.
The reserve housing fund will also enable low to moderate income homeowners to purchase residences and provide flood insurance subsidies for affected citizens.
About $9 million of the transfer is set to be allocated across the Department of Environmental Quality, the Division of Emergency Management within the Department of Public Safety, and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for disaster preparation efforts, equipment and training.
“Representing some of the Eastern North Carolina communities that were hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew, I have seen firsthand how critical this assistance is to those trying to rebuild in its aftermath,” Sen. Danny Britt (R-Robeson) said. “I am proud of state lawmakers’ ongoing commitment to helping families and communities recover from this disaster.”
More than $14 million of the reserve will transfer to the State Emergency Response and Disaster Relief Fund to provide a state match for federal assistance.
“This is welcome news for the people of Eastern North Carolina who are still in need of assistance,” Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne), the state House Majority Leader and chairman of the House Select Committee on Disaster Relief, said. “From the very beginning, I made a promise to these folks that they would not be forgotten. The creation of this reserve fund and the allocation of more funding is another important step in that effort. As government red tape from the governor’s administration continues to slow down the recovery effort, I will fight to make sure this money gets to the victims and the people who have been desperately waiting for help.”
The remaining $10 million of the Reserve for Disaster Relief will be directed to infrastructure grants through the Office of State Budget and Management and Golden L.E.A.F. to provide assistance to local governments in relief efforts following the western wildfires, tropical storms Julia and Hermine, and Hurricane Matthew.d