City administrators met Thursday with the state's top emergency management official to discuss the future of public assistance and other funding for flood recovery.
Oklahoma Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood traveled to Miami in response to city concerns of a $1.3 million shortfall in funds it expected to receive from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“I was encouraged as a result of our meeting today,” said Miami City Manager Huey Long. “Especially when the director advised the city he would be the direct contact on all matters relating to flood reimbursement issues for the projects submitted by the city.”
Miami Mayor Brent Brassfield said the meeting was “intense” at times but that he, too, was encouraged by the promise of Ashwood's direct involvement.
Brassfield said the director will continue to review project worksheets created after the July 2007 flood. In the meantime, the city will re-evaluate its projects as well and look again at its loss and supply the state emergency management office with documentation concerning insured versus non-insurable items as it relates project reimbursements.
“It is very frustrating for us to follow procedures and guidelines as advised and then be denied funds,” Brassfield said. “It is encouraging to know that, through Mr. Ashwood, we may get additional funds after project by project analysis.”
Thursday's discussion also included the city's current condemnation effort and Ashwood's advice that the city cease demolition plans until the project can be reviewed for potential federal funding.
“The city will hold off on processing property condemnations due to the fact of potentially receiving funds to possibly purchase/demolish properties impacted by the flood,” Long said. “This possibility provides a win-win for the property owner and increases funding for demolition for the City of Miami.”
Long said Thursday's meeting opened a valuable line of communication that will provide timely information regarding potential funding for projects.