(BIVN) – $61,667,850 dollars in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds are heading to Hawaiʻi County, following a destructive summer of natural disasters.
According to a series of communications from Hawaiʻi County Finance Director Deanna Sako to the Hawaiʻi County Council, FEMA is providing funds to be used for the repair of damages from the eruption of Kīlauea Volcano, as well as the flooding caused by Hurricane Lane. In both cases, FEMA will cover 75% of the cost, with the remaining 25% of costs to be provided by the County.
Bill 10 will appropriate $32,995,500 to the Capital Budget for “2018 Lava Flow Projects”, of which $24,746,625 is provided by FEMA and $8,248,875 by the County.
Bill 8 will appropriate even more: $49,228,300 will go to the Capital Budget for “Hurricane Lane Damage Projects”, of which $36,921,225 is provided by FEMA and $12,307,075 by the County.
Aside from the $61.6 million coming in from FEMA, another $250,000 has been awarded to the County from the United States Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration. The funds “will be used to create an economic recovery plan to provide, relief, recovery and relocation strategies for the recent Kilauea eruption,” Sako wrote in another communication.
All three matters have been waived from the Finance Committee and be placed on the January 9, 2019 Council Agenda in order to expedite the receipt of these funds, county records show. New Hawaiʻi County Council Chair Aaron Chung said during his inauguration speech that eruption recovery will be a top priority for the council in 2019.
Lava-related discussion will still take place in committee, however.
Puna councilmembers Ashley Kierkiewicz and Matt Kanealiʻi-Kleinfelder have requested that a discussion on Hawaiʻi County’s lava recovery be placed on the Governmental Relations and Economic Development Committee agenda for January 8. The councilmembers are seeking a presentation from Mayor Harry Kim, the Managing Director, or other designee regarding “the specific utilization of funds received from the Governor of the State of Hawaii for lava emergency response, as well as a status update on the request for funds from the Hawaiʻi State Legislature towards Puna recovery and rebuild.”