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Beshear disburses more than $3 million in SAFE Funds to tornado impacted communities

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Governor Andy Beshear
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Gov. Andy Beshear announced Wednesday that $3.3 million dollars from the State Aid Funding for Emergencies fund, created by Senate Bill 150, will go to six organizations continuing to work toward recovery nearly nine months after the December tornado outbreak.

Millions of dollars from the fund have already been allocated to tornado-impacted communities such as Hopkins County, Mayfield and Taylor County. The funds can be used to help local governments, nonprofit or public utilities groups, state agencies or school districts. Beshear announced during a Team Kentucky update that groups in Fulton County, Mayfield, and Marshall County were receiving money from the SAFE Fund.

Beshear also provided an update on the 300 homes charities are building in western Kentucky with $16 million in funding from the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund. He said six homes have been fully built and 19 are under construction and that he expects to see all 300 homes be built by the end of 2023, two years after the disaster.

“Since early May, we've announced millions of dollars in that western Kentucky SAFE fund — that was the model for what that special session just passed — so today, we have more awards,” Beshear said. “What we have seen in each of these is when it opens up, you'll have a lot of applications, and then people will deploy those dollars and then they come back because rebuilding takes time with additional applications.”

The six new disbursements include:

  • More than $2.4 million for the City of Mayfield for hauling expenses, Federal Emergency Management Agency-ineligible debris removal and disposal costs
  • $400,000 for the North Marshall Water District for repairs to damaged underground water lines
  • $257,311 for Fulton County to address paving costs, FEMA-ineligible debris removal and availability of funds
  • $110,000 for the Princeton Electric Plant Board to match FEMA funds to ease interests due on loans to ease strained fiscal liquidity
  • Nearly $90,000 for the Salt River RECC in central Kentucky for FEMA-ineligible replacement expenses and personnel costs 
  • $35,000 for the Marshall County Refuse District for road repairs needed from damage caused by debris removal trucks

The governor added that these funds will hopefully help families, local governments and utility groups in tornado-impacted areas to mitigate some additional costs associated with recovery.

“All these prevent ultimate increases on our families,” Beshear said. “They prevent our counties and our cities from going bankrupt and having to look at their taxation, which people couldn't afford anymore right now. It prevents rate increases from the utilities that have had a lot of damage.”

Lily Burris is a tornado recovery reporter for WKMS, Murray State's NPR Station. Her nine month reporting project is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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