Iberville's recovery money should be safe

Deidre Cruse

Iberville Parish's $44 million in federal hurricane recovery money should be safe from any cuts by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the parish's grant consultant said last week.

With FEMA running short of cash to deal with damages to the east coast from Hurricane Irene last month, federal officials suggested they would put some projects from earlier disasters on hold to take care of immediate needs.

“There is concern, but not in our world,” Thomas C. David Jr. of Pan American Engineers told the POST/SOUTH.

Iberville already has signed intergovernmental agreements with the state and had its applications approved for its $44 million in Hurricane Gustav recovery money, David said. David's firm has been responsible for guiding the parish through that process.

“It is unimaginable they would pull those funds,” he said.

Among the projects is the parish government's plan to use some $22 million to build a freestanding emergency room and walk-in clinic near Plaquemine.

“We're in the house,” David said. “They just haven't let us sit at the dining table.”

Other parishes are no as far along in their programs, David said. Parishes that have not shown any projects stemming from hurricanes Katrina and Rita could be in danger of losing those federal funds, he said.