In this week’s edition of The Legislative Review, we will focus on the topic of disaster relief and state emergency response, as we continue highlighting important aspects of North Carolina’s budget.
State Emergency Response and Disaster Relief Highlights in the State Budget
State Emergency Response and Disaster Relief Program (SERDRF)
The 2022 Appropriations Act transfers $945 million into the SERDRF, of which $216 million is appropriated for various disaster recovery, flood mitigation, and emergency preparedness purposes. Factoring in these appropriations and prior transfers into the SERDRF, it will have a $742 million unappropriated balance.
The appropriated disaster recovery and flood mitigation funds are distributed for use across several agencies, including but not limited to:
· Up to $125 million to the Department of Health and Human Services to cover COVID-19 expenses expected to be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at 100% of costs. Once FEMA reimbursement is made, funds will be returned to the SERDRF.
· $15 million to the State Match Fund at the Division of Emergency Management (NCEM) to cover the State’s share of FEMA Public Assistance costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
· $10 million to NCEM for recovery from Tropical Storm Fred. This includes $5 million for private road and bridge repair (in addition to the $15 million already appropriated for this purpose in the 2021 Appropriations Act) and $5 million for debris removal and public infrastructure repair.
· $46.6 million in directed grants to local governments and non-profits for flood mitigation and resiliency projects.
· $6.5 million to the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to provide a directed grant to the North Carolina Coastal Federation for living shorelines projects at Black Duck Island, Hammocks Beach State Park, Fort Macon State Park, and Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium.
· $10 million in additional funding for the Tropical Storm Fred and April 2021 Freeze Disaster Crop Loss Assistance programs ($5 million each). These programs received a total of $50 million in the 2021 Appropriations Act.
· The budget expands the list of counties eligible for the Agricultural Crop Loss Program to include the following counties: Alexander, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, McDowell, Mitchell, Wilkes and Yancey
Substantial Disaster Relief Legislation 2021-2022
· SB105-2021 Appropriations Act, an act to make base budget appropriations for current operations of state agencies, departments and other purposes.
· HB103-2022 Appropriations Act, an act to modify the current operations Appropriations Act of 2021 and to make other changes in the budget operations of the state.
Legislative Update in Cherokee
Recently I had the privilege to provide a legislative update to the NC Professional Appraisers Coalition at their annual meeting in Cherokee, NC. I discussed a variety of topics, including the state of North Carolina’s economy, projects in Western North Carolina that impact the district, and working on solving statewide issues such as bridging the digital divide.
Tri-County Community College Check Presentation
Senator Corbin and I had the great honor of presenting a check to Tri-County Community College totaling over $19 million. Securing these funds in the state budget was a true collaborative effort between the House and the Senate.