City of Lake Charles works to receive FEMA disaster assistance

City of Lake Charles works to receive FEMA disaster assistance

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The City of Lake Charles was left with mountains of expenses after Hurricane Laura, but FEMA will be lifting some of that burden.

The Public Assistance program through FEMA helps relieve cities met with disaster of overwhelming recovery costs. The City of Lake Charles is taking part in the program to help rebuild.

City expenses, such as debris removal and emergency preparedness measures, can be reimbursed through FEMA assistance.

Quantifying the amount of damage Lake Charels sustained is a big undertaking, so the city is hiring a consulting firm to help.

“It takes a while to get all of the damages identified,” said Karen Harrell, Lake Charles Director of Finance. “We have all of our properties. We have minimal damage all the way to some properties will be completely rebuilt.”

And the City has to make sure they’re following all FEMA guidelines to be reimbursed.

“FEMA wants to make sure that their dollars are properly spent by all governmental agencies, so we have to make sure that we follow the regulations.”

The consultants will also help the City get the most money they can for recovery efforts.

“They will help us identify damage. They will help us identify ways that we can capitalize on our insurance proceeds and FEMA proceeds that we will receive for rebuilding of these facilities.”

Before the City Council voted to approve hiring a consultant, Harrell explained why they need to extra help.

“We have a small staff, and for us to take on this momentous task of recovering all the dollars we can with Hurricane Laura, I think that we are better served by hiring a consultant.”

FEMA did award 100 percent funding for the City’s expenses for the first 30 days after Laura, but expenses after that time period can be paid by FEMA up to 75 percent.

Copyright 2020 KPLC. All rights reserved.