County approved for infrastructure assistance

AUSTIN, Texas — Federal disaster aid in the form of Public Assistance reimbursements has been approved in 12 more Texas counties affected by the wildfires of late summer, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said Thursday.Briscoe, Clay, Coryell, Edwards, Hall, Howard, Kimble, Menard, Montague, Nolan, Sutton and Wise counties join the 19 other counties approved for supplementary funding from FEMA under the latest amendment to the Sept. 9 major disaster declaration for the wildfires.The Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program helps reimburse the state and its agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for the cost of removing wildfire-related debris from public rights of way, and for measures taken by state and local emergency responders to protect lives and property before, during and after the blazes. The PA program also helps defray the cost of repairing roads, public buildings, utilities and other public infrastructure damaged or destroyed as a result of the wildfires.Under the program, FEMA obligates funds to the state for 75 percent of eligible costs, while the applicant covers the remaining 25 percent. The state forwards the federal funds to the eligible local governments or other applicants that incurred costs.The Texas Division of Emergency Management, with support from FEMA, has held Applicant Briefings throughout the disaster-affected areas to provide a general overview of the PA program and answer potential applicants' questions. Another round of Applicant Briefings will be scheduled soon for the newly added counties.Previously designated for the PA program as a result of the wildfires are Anderson, Bastrop, Cass, Cherokee, Colorado, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Hill, Houston, Leon, Marion, Morris, Navarro, Panola, Rusk, Smith, Upshur and Walker counties.