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Holden proposes $18.1M boost in flood recovery spending

Friday, November 18, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Shannon Stage
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Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden’s office is proposing a boost in flood recovery spending of up to $18.1 million, on top of $47 million already authorized in September.

Holden says costs mounted at a higher rate than anticipated because of debris removal and negotiations with private companies over where to dispose of the debris.

“The amount of debris on the streets was much, much higher than anybody anticipated,” he says. “When you have a flood of this magnitude … you have to make sure you get it right.”

Holden says he is not sure exactly where the money will be spent, and he will work with the Metro Council to determine which areas need the most money. He expects the federal government to cover around three quarters of the costs, with the rest coming from local sources.

The Metro Council approved the $47 million, which was used mostly on debris removal, in September. The new money will come from federal dollars, local sales taxes, insurance proceeds and/or budget stabilization funds, according to documents filed with the council administrator.

Documents show the increase in spending will not exceed $65 million, and that the money is necessary for flood work that has already been authorized as well as future operations.

The floods in August inundated homes and businesses in Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas, and many of the victims did not have flood insurance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency provided some aid to homeowners, but the state has asked Congress for additional money in the form of block grants.

The state has received a roughly $438 million “down payment” from the federal government for flood recovery. Gov. John Bel Edwards recently upped his request for federal aid to more than $4 billion.