Bredesen announces federal disaster help for six counties, including Clay


NASHVILLE-Governor Phil Bredesen today announced the federal government has approved his request for disaster assistance for six counties in West and Middle Tennessee awaiting assistance due to severe storms, heavy rains, flooding and flash flooding that occurred July 15-17.

Local governments and public utilities of Chester, Clay, Decatur, Jackson, Overton and Wayne Counties are now eligible for Public Assistance Program reimbursement from the federal government. The public assistance designation also covers emergency response and recovery costs incurred by state government.

“The economic cost to local budgets from disasters can be just as devastating as physical damage from a storm, but this federal assistance will help alleviate part of that financial pressure,” said Bredesen. “I appreciate President Obama’s prompt approval of the disaster declarations that will help these communities rebuild.”

As in previous disasters, the state will provide half of the local share of matching funds required by the federal reimbursement program. The total amount will be 12.5 percent of the total cost incurred by local governments. Utility companies are required to provide the full 25 percent match for federal funds


Public assistance

The Public Assistance Program authorizes a number of benefits for local government and public utilities to reclaim expenses relating to debris removal, overtime and property damages for public buildings. 

As a result of the storms, preliminary damage assessments estimate that more than $7.46 million of costs eligible for federal assistance under the Stafford Act have or will be incurred by state and local governments and public utilities. Local and state resources also expended considerable resources responding to the emergency, restoring public infrastructure and removing debris.

Despite the damage to public infrastructure, the damage to individual households was insufficient to trigger the federal Individual Assistance Programs, which provide help to households and private businesses.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency continues to assist county emergency management where possible to match individual needs with non-governmental programs, such as those offered by members of the Tennessee Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters.