Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives said on Monday that the federal government approved Arkansas’ public-assistance request that would help cities and counties cover the cost of overtime and infrastructure repairs related to recent flooding along the Arkansas River.
April Bennett, a spokeswoman for FEMA, said the major disaster declaration for the state of Arkansas was amended to include Public Assistance Categories in areas affected by flooding and severe storms between May 21 and June 14.
“Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian and Yell Counties were added for PA Categories C through G...,” Bennett said in a news release. “Desha and Logan Counties were added for PA Categories A through G...Franklin County was added for PA Categories A through G...Searcy County was declared for PA Categories A through G.”
These counties were already designated for Individual Assistance, Bennett said.
U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., expressed concern last week during a visit to flood-damaged areas in Arkansas that mayors and county officials wouldn't be able to handle the cost of overtime accrued because of flooding or infrastructure repairs without the federal assistance.
"I have talked to many officials who don't know how they are going to be able to keep going with all the overtime they have to pay out," Cotton said.
Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington said she shared the senator's concerns.
"We also have the cleaning efforts and overtime for officers and street (department)," Washington said. "We don't have a dollar estimate on it."
The Public Assistance program will allow FEMA to support communities by providing them with grant assistance for debris removal, life-saving emergency protective measures and restoring public infrastructure, Bennett said.