Missouri Lawmakers Lend Hand to Joplin in Effort to Extend FEMA - KOAM TV 7

Missouri Lawmakers Lend Hand to Joplin in Effort to Extend FEMA Deadline

Joplin, MO -

U.S. Senators Roy Blunt, Claire McCaskill, and U.S. Rep. Billy Long are lending a hand in Joplin's efforts to get an extended deadline for FEMA assistance.  Money given to Joplin from FEMA after the 2011 tornado had to be used within a time frame that expired just a few days ago.  

Things seem to be working around the principle of the matter.

"Everybody knew it was going to be hard to deal with," says Joplin resident Mark Tyrrell, speaking about construction on Main Street.

Tyrrell is one of thousands of others drivers who've, for months now, been venturing around construction workers repairing and improving infrastructure.

"We're looking forward to the completion, of course, but we don't want to rush anything, either," says Tyrrell.

It has been a little more than six years since FEMA gave Joplin $2.9 million to help rebuild after the tornado, and a little more than $1 million was still left for the City to use, up until earlier this month.

"The plan, or the hope, was to maximize the resources that we had," says Joplin City Manager Sam Anselm.

Joplin also received after the tornado money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  City officials say FEMA and HUD have different rules and requirements for how their money can be spent.

"If we use FEMA funds, for example, to put in a portion of sidewalk or curb, and for whatever reason it got damaged while we were doing the HUD related recovery or repairs, then we just wasted those dollars that we used previously from FEMA," says Anselm.

Anselm wants FEMA to extend its money use deadline to November of next year.  But he also says even if the request is denied, construction projects will still happen; more HUD money or even sales tax revenue would cover costs.  

But at issue is the principle of the matter.

"To be good stewards of local taxpayer dollars, we want to do what we can to maximize the federal grants given to us," says Anselm.

"I think when the project is complete, everybody is going to be pretty happy about it," says Tyrrell.

...Some more happy than others if FEMA approves the deadline extension request.

Click here for projects in Joplin, scheduled to begin next year, slated to use FEMA funds.


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