Local and state agencies on the Kenai Peninsula have been approved to receive more than $400,000 in public assistance funds through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state of Alaska.
The money is disbursed through a cost-sharing program with FEMA paying 75 percent and the state contributing 25 percent. It will help agencies such as Homer Electric Association, the Kenai Peninsula Borough and the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities recoup repair expenses suffered as a result of severe storms that hit the area in March.
The damage, caused by hurricane-force gusts ripping through Southcentral Alaska on March 6-15, included downed trees, torn-off roofs and cut electrical power, as well as wind-whipped wildfires.
HEA, the cooperative that provides electrical service throughout the peninsula, will receive about $288,000 in public assistance funds. The majority of that money, about $205,965, will cover the cost of replacing power poles, power lines and transformers that were damaged during the storms. The funds also include $51,347 to pay for cleanup, such as clearing fallen trees, and $30,894 to fall dangerous trees around other power lines.
The borough will receive about $24,000 from FEMA and the state, most of which will be used to repair damaged schools, including the Tebughna School in Tyonek on the west side of Cook Inlet. A small portion of the reimbursement also will cover emergency protective services.
Finally, DOT will receive about $3,300 to repair its maintenance shop in North Kenai, which was damaged by the storms.
Two other agencies also have requested public assistance funds as a result of the storms and FEMA is continuing to review the proposed projects. The Nikiski pool likely will receive about $44,000 for electrical repairs, and the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry should receive about $45,000 for fire response in Anchor Point.
In addition to public assistance relief, FEMA also grants individual aid to families whose property sustained damage in the storms.
Ninety-nine people on the Kenai Peninsula applied for housing assistance or "other needs" funds and will receive about $63,835 combined in aid.
Residents in the municipality of Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough also received considerable disaster relief funding from the agency and state. More than 275 Anchorage residents applied for assistance, receiving about $71,335. In Mat-Su, more than 440 applied, receiving about $410,151.
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