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Newton to get more storm aid

Photo by Jimmy Hislope

Photo by Jimmy Hislope

Newton County could be getting more assistance to clean up and repair areas damaged by storms in late April.

It was announced this week that Newton qualifies for public assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in seven categories: debris removal; emergency protective measures; road systems and bridges; water control facilities; public buildings, content and equipment; utilities; and parks and recreational facilities. Public assistance is used to fund clean up and repairs to structures used to provide essential government services.

Jody Nolan, deputy director of Newton EMA, has estimated the county spent at least $100,000 on storm cleanup. Nolan said he should have updated estimates by the end of the week, and he expects the county will apply for assistance in several categories.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler also announced Wednesday that the Georgia Department of Labor and the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission Workforce Investment Board have received a $5 million National Emergency Grant to assist with cleanup and recovery efforts from severe storms that struck Georgia counties on April 27 and 28. The funds will be used to create temporary jobs for laid-off workers to assist in the recovery efforts, as well as human services staff to help those in the communities affected, including Newton.

"This grant will go a long way towards helping our recovery efforts in the affected counties in Georgia," Butler said.

The grant money will be used to hire and train laid-off workers to clean and repair public property and to hire staff for public and non-profit agencies helping in the relief effort, including public assistance agencies, as well as counselors to help the grieving and traumatized. For more information call 770-784-2455.

FEMA is still accepting applications for assistance from private property owners.

Seventeen private property owners in Newton have applied, according to Spokesman Karl Moskowitz. FEMA has conducted approximately 1,900 inspections throughout the state and approved about $2.6 million in assistance, he said.

Assistance for homeowners and renters can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs or other disaster related expenses not met by insurance or other assistance programs. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.

Applications can be made online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone at 1-800-621-3362. The hearing and speech impaired can use a TTY line at 1-800-462-7585. Lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.