Hurricane Matthew Disaster Recovery Act of 2016
The North Carolina General Assembly passed the Disaster Recovery Act of 2016 by a unanimous vote of 49-0 in the Senate and a unanimous vote of 115-0 in the House. Governor Pat McCrory is scheduled to sign the $200 million disaster relief package into law tomorrow morning. I thank Governor Pat McCrory for his commitment to the people of North Carolina – he has stood as a strong leader in our state during these strenuous times. The demands on Governor McCrory’s time, attention and emotional energy have been intense for the past several months. He has been a selfless inspiring leader in guiding North Carolina’s recovery efforts from these devastating natural disasters.
Due to a $1.6 billion Rainy Day Fund and sizable budget surpluses, our state is well-prepared financially to provide disaster victims with significant relief. In essence, our state can fund the recovery efforts without borrowing money or raising taxes because legislators spent responsibly and saved taxpayer dollars in our emergency fund over the last four years.
House Bill 2 – the Disaster Recovery Act of 2016 is the first step in addressing the state’s immediate needs and includes:
The bill also allows the governor to waive certain Division of Motor Vehicle fees for citizens impacted by the hurricane. Additionally, it provides calendar flexibility to schools forced to cancel days in the aftermath of the storm. Affected schools will make up two missed days, while the rest will be forgiven.
- Housing: $29 million to provide short-term housing for areas not covered by FEMA, along with grants for rental assistance, construction of new rental units and repairs to damaged homes. Close to 4,500 homes were destroyed as a result of Hurricane Matthew, and over 1,600 families are still living out of hotel rooms.
- Community infrastructure: $41 million to help local governments fund repairs to infrastructure, trash pick-up, river maintenance and other local needs.
- Economic development and stabilization: $5 million to help impacted businesses get back on their feet and revitalize the communities hit hardest by the storm.
- Natural resources: nearly $38 million to help the agriculture community respond and recover from disasters across the state.
- $24 million to aid in the wildfire response in western North Carolina.
- Almost $14 million to help rebuild farm roads, ponds, dams and agricultural facilities hit hard by the hurricane.
- Planning: over $11 million to help local communities implement sustainable rebuilding plans that safeguard against major destruction during future disasters.
- Direct aid: more than $75 million used primarily to partner with the federal government in providing nearly $600 million combined state and federal direct aid to North Carolinians.
After North Carolina experienced some of the worst natural disasters in state history in October and November, Gov. McCrory took charge of the state’s short-term emergency response and long-term recovery efforts. His Hurricane Matthew Recovery Committee held five regional meetings around the state to hear the needs of disaster victims. North Carolina's congressional delegation also secured an additional $300 million federal appropriation to support hurricane recovery efforts. As we move forward, we will plan to assess any remaining unmet needs in 2017 and again in 2018.
On Friday, Dec. 9, it was my pleasure to present Josie Hookway the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award on behalf of Governor Pat McCrory in Bath, N.C. I thank Josie for her 30+ years of service to the State of North Carolina in public nursing education and decades of volunteer service to the Historic Bath Site as well as the Historic Bath Commission. Her dedication and commitment in the wide variety of roles is admirable. Thank you Peter Krogh for the photo.