Repayment from FEMA needed soon

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 13, 2006

As cleanup bills arrive, communities across the state now arestarting to come to grips with the financial reality of HurricaneKatrina.

In Lincoln County, a $314,000 cleanup bill that was more than$200,000 over an original estimate shocked county supervisors lastweek. They are not disputing that the cleanup work was done and thebill has to be paid.

What is troubling, though, is that the county could be on thehook for the full bill until reimbursement comes from the federalgovernment. This could be seen, in effect, as a short-term loan tothe federal government.

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Katrina cleanup bills can pack a financial wallop to localbudgets here, on the coast and elsewhere. City and countygovernments can’t afford to loan money indefinitely.

Reimbursement from FEMA needs to come quickly.