A relatively uneventful Brown County Commissioners Court meeting received a shot of adrenaline Monday morning when County Auditor Jennifer D. Robison announced the county could lose $500,000 in Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursements.
Robison said FEMA could take action against the county after numerous requests to complete federally mandated paperwork regarding damages sustained due to flooding.
“Our FEMA funding is currently out of compliance due to failure to extend projects,” Robison said. “It was brought to my attention Thursday morning. We’ve addressed it and are trying to get back into compliance. Should we fall completely out of compliance, we would not only lose FEMA funding, we would have to refund the funding we received.”
In a follow-up interview after Monday’s Brown County Commissioners Court meeting, Robison said the county fell out of compliance when it failed to complete several extension requests for various projects related to flood damages dating back to 2016. She added the projects are primarily in the precinct of commissioner Larry Traweek. Recently hired Brown Emergency Management Director David Creed and commission administrative assistant T’Anna McClure will attempt to resolve the issue and maintain funding in the case of man-made or natural disaster.
“It would be the current projects and so far we’ve received a little over $500,000. A lot of it is mostly from Commissioner Larry Traweek’s precinct,” Robison said. “It’s various years and they’ve all kind of stair-stacked. It’s several years worth. It’s not the commission. It’s our emergency management coordinator that is responsible for the paperwork. He has to get with T’Anna (McClure) and the commissioner and get all of the pieces filled out and filed with our FEMA coordinator.”
Creed became the county’s first emergency management coordinator following the election of Brown County Judge Paul Lilly, who created the new position as one of his first acts of office. Creed said he is still catching up with many of the duties involved in the new position and any non-compliance with FEMA was simply an oversight and will be corrected soon.
“We’re catching up to it and there are so many things going on,” Creed said. “I walked into it and it was already half done. I did not have a brief on it so I’m just catching up … I like the work. It’s solid work and it keeps me busy. There are always nuances to the job and the way other people did it. I have a lot of help around me and a lot of folks stepping up to let me know if there is something I need to always ask.”
The commission also:
• Tabled a discussion regarding changes to policy regarding the use of county credit cards until next Monday.
• Approved taking no action implementing a burn ban.
• Approved requesting resubmission of bids for a kitchen remodel.