Dean to Congress: Restore $30M in frozen FEMA flood dollars

Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 5:08pm
Staff reports

With the Federal Emergency Management Agency freezing previously approved funds following Hurricane Irene, Mayor Karl Dean is urging congress to restore $30.4 million in dollars that had been designated for Nashville’s flood buyout program.

On Thursday, FEMA officials notified Dean that $30.4 million in federal funds are on hold indefinitely for the city’s three remaining federal home buyout packages, a plan implemented following Nashville’s May 2010 flood.

Under the buyout plan, flood-damaged residential properties in Nashville’s most flood-prone areas are in the process of being purchased before homes are to be torn town to clear the way for green space.

“I urge Congress to give FEMA the funds it needs so that flood victims in Nashville can get the money they have rightfully been anticipating for months now,” Dean said in a statement.

“I understand homeowners’ deep frustrations, and I call on Congress to act quickly,” he added. “Nashvillians have already been victims of the flood. They should not also have to be victims of congressional delay.”

In all, 225 homeowners are scheduled to be a part of the home buyout plan. The majority of funding comes from FEMA and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.

Metro has already closed on 94 homes, and another 12 properties aren’t affected by FEMA’s delay. That leaves 119 homes still waiting on congressional action.

Congress is currently on recess but U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., said in a statement a freeze would have been expected for Nashville's flood had FEMA been short on funds at the time of the disaster.

“In May of 2010, we would have expected the same response had the agency been short on funds," Cooper said. "Congress needs to get to work and deal with restoring funding for FEMA immediately. Some want to play games, but this is no time to do that when people in Nashville are still hurting.”

Filed under: City News
Tagged: Congress | FEMA | karl dean | TEMA

10 Comments on this post:

By: JeffF on 9/1/11 at 3:56

If only there were some way Nashville could spend money on its own to do this type of things. Wait a minute, $30,400,000.00 is the same amount of one year of debt maintenance on the MCC. It will also be equal to the total operating loss of the place when employee pay, benefits, and service fund charges (the same ones that the Deaniacs started charging to the fairgrounds to show a loss) .

Got to love a project that supposedly pays for itself instead of using taxes paid by others. Woops.

By: titm on 9/1/11 at 4:26

IAlthough, I fell bad for these homeowners...why should tax payer dollars be spent on this.whether it's, city, state or fed funds no one penny of public money should be spent.

Just working for a living with honesty and integrity.

By: left on 9/1/11 at 8:40

We need that money feds! .........for the cost over run for the convention center.

By: nobamatwelve on 9/2/11 at 1:04

Gimme a break with this "hostage" nonsense. Liberals are like a bunch of parrots, when one says something they all say something. The money is NOT being held hostage, rather IT ISNT THERE!!! WE ARE BROKE!!! When will you libs understand that being broke means NOT HAVING MONEY????

Maybe if all levels of govt, including the city of Nashville, would start budgeting better and realize that these little $5,000 and $10,000 add up, we wouldnt be so broke. We sure as hell didnt NEED a convention center, much less a taxpayer funded one.

By: govskeptic on 9/2/11 at 5:06

That letter will surely bring them all together and be honored expenditure at once!

By: budlight on 9/2/11 at 7:27

By: left on 9/1/11 at 9:40
We need that money feds! .........for the cost over run for the convention center.

nobamatwelve on 9/2/11 at 2:04
Gimme a break with this "hostage" nonsense. Liberals are like a bunch of parrots, when one says something they all say something. The money is NOT being held hostage, rather IT ISNT THERE!!! WE ARE BROKE!!! When will you libs understand that being broke means NOT HAVING MONEY????

Both posts hit the nail on the head. I doubt if Dean is even concerned with what the average citizen thinks or wants.

By: LizzyD on 9/2/11 at 10:03

They are threatening to not fund emergency needs in Vermont, etc. FEMA is withdrawing funds dedicated to recovery efforts in this spring/summer's tornado ravaged areas. Good luck Nashville. FEMA is essentially "broke" until and unless Congress lets go of a bunch of money. Not really their fault -- they are accustomed to estimating how much they will need, and then being given more if "disasters" exceed expectations. This may nor not occur, given the behavior of the churlish bullies who are running the House of Reps. and their feckless leader who is terrified of losing his title and position of power to say NO to the PResident of the U.S. I think that Nashville will probably get the money, but NOW IS not a good time to expect it.

As for the poor victims, those who cannot rebuild and without the buyout have no money to continue living with a roof over their heads, a bunch of y'all We-Can-Take-Care-of-Our-Own folks need to hop on TV and Facebook and start taking up donations to buy them out. We don' need no gov'ment help, REMEMBER? Millions were gathered for the people of Haiti and other such disasters - can't little old Nashville band together and let these people get on with their lives?

And NO, GovSkeptic, we are NOT BROKE. This is a rich nation and all of our money is being doled out to the richest of the rich corporate moguls throughout the entire world. This BROKE nonsense is a matter of funky book keeping, criminal accounting, which is a very large industry these days. FEMA needs that money right now -- there are U.S. citizens in Vermont who have no way to get to a store, and many thousands who have no electricity with which to do critical life-supporting activities.

Don't tell ME we are broke when we've got lots and lots and lots of money to commit murder and mayhem all over this globe! And you may be sure that General Petraus isn't about to let THAT effort suffer.

Some of you people are selfish, churlish bullies and whiners. If you hate government so much, how about you step up and help your neighbors who are in trouble there in those areas where it is very unwise to rebuild, because we don't want it to happen all over again when the NEXT SuperRain occurs. And surely it will. Because the global climate changes are starting to affect our "weather," for sure and certain, whether you like it or not!

Your "buddies" here may enjoy your ridiculous rants, but I am really annoyed. You may be growing older, but you certainly are not growing wiser!

By: LizzyD on 9/2/11 at 10:47

BTW, your mayor has done exactly the right thing for your city. It is a message to Congress and those churlish bullies in the House of Reps that their obstructionist games are being noticed. And THEY are all up for election in 2012, too.

By: LizzyD on 9/2/11 at 11:03

I so wish this comment site had an "edit" button on it. My comments were intended to be directed to the comment of Budlight, not GovSkeptic. My apologies to the latter.

Since I normally just read and don't write, I get some of y'all mixed up. That's what comes from being a granny. :) I no longer live in Nashville, but I did have relatives seriously affected by the extraordinary flooding of the Cumberland River both in Nashville and in Ashland City. It was the result of an abnormal weather event, of course, and many had no reason to suspect they would be or even could be flooded so badly. I feel deeply for those who are "trapped" between buyout and getting a new place to live -- and that is what should be attended to by the city and the state, in my own opinion. Sometimes we DO NEED GOVERNMENT, which is, of course, why we have it.

By: freddy on 9/2/11 at 3:28

My home was destroyed by the flood, and I'd rather rebuild but because the damage was so great and my home was in the floodway, the law won't permit it. So I had to move my family into another house after we bounced around, staying with friends for two months. Now I own two houses, one good one and one bad one, and the bad one is on the buyout list. I still have to pay the mortgage and (reduced) property taxeson what is basically now a worthless property, so the debt is crippling. If anyone out there would like to buy my house, just let me know -- but without that gov't buyout, I'm sunk.