City, county and township officials gathered Monday for a briefing from the South Dakota Office of Emergency Management and Federal Emergency Management Administration for public assistance applicants from the spring winter storms and flooding.
The disaster declaration was made June 7 and requests for public assistance must be done by Aug. 5. Monday’s meeting was at the Davison County North Offices in Mitchell.
Davison County Emergency Management Administrator Jeff Bathke said the meeting was important for local officials to understand the requirements for receiving public assistance for emergency work done after the storms, or permanent work done on infrastructure, public utilities, water control facilities, etc.
Local officials were asked to complete a request for public assistance form on Monday to be eligible for federal funds. Emergency work needs to be completed within six months of the declaration date (Dec. 7), while permanent work must be completed within 18 months of the declaration date, or Dec. 7, 2020. Further extensions are available if government bodies demonstrate the need.
Amanda VanderPlatts, public assistance coordinator with the South Dakota Office of Emergency Management, said there are more than 700 agencies that they are working with on assistance requests. In all, 58 of the state’s 66 counties are part of the disaster declaration. Local governments are responsible for footing the bill for emergency or long-term repairs, and then FEMA can reimburse those entities, but the process of documenting and recording expenditures can be burdensome and lengthy.
“We want you to get your money and we want to get it to you quickly, because we know this is a financial burden on all of you,” she said.
Emergency management officials also briefed local leaders on the requirements about reimbursable costs, contracts, thresholds for projects, the payment process and the web portal for submitting information to FEMA.