(From Gov. Jay Nixon)
Gov. Jay Nixon today announced the Missouri Association of Councils of Government has been awarded $1.2 million to fund three projects that will help Missouri communities respond to disasters. The funding through the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program will strengthen regional coordination and response asset sharing, identify key infrastructure and resources to mitigate disasters before they strike, and bolster long-term recovery planning.
“One of the most important functions of government is planning for and responding to natural disasters, thereby making sure people have the support they need to rebuild and move forward,” Gov. Nixon said. “Missouri’s system of coordinating local, state, faith-based, volunteer and private sector disaster response and recovery efforts has served as a model for the nation. This grant funding will further strengthen our ability to respond quickly, efficiently and in a coordinated manner.”
The funding includes:
$935,000 to assist Missouri’s 19 regional planning commissions assess critical infrastructure and key resources, and design mitigation plans to strengthen vital infrastructure. The grant will bolster coordination among local governments, businesses and nonprofits;
$191,000 to strengthen disaster response coordination and efficiency by creating a comprehensive statewide asset inventory of deployable resources. This will expand the ability of communities to share key assets not only across regions, but across the state if necessary.
$50,000 to develop long-term disaster recovery systems in local communities, including enabling local leaders to plan for rebuilding, business retention and public works projects following a disaster.
Gov. Nixon led the state’s rapid and unprecedented response after a devastating EF-5 tornado struck Joplin and surrounding areas on May 22, 2011, killing 161 people and destroying or damaging 8,000 homes and businesses. Under the Governor’s leadership, Missouri state government quickly brought services directly to tornado survivors, accounted for hundreds of missing persons in a massive 24/7 operation to reassure survivors and the community, and created new recovery programs to ensure the Joplin area’s future as a vibrant and growing community.
In May 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau released population figures showing Joplin’s population of 51,316 had reached its highest level ever.
“As we saw in Joplin, we must be prepared to respond in unprecedented ways to catastrophic disasters,” Gov. Nixon said. “Further strengthening our coordination and planning in advance will bolster the ability of all levels of government to meet the essential needs of people affected by disasters, as well as the long-term rebuilding and economic recovery development necessary to maintain the vibrancy of Missouri communities.”
The Missouri Association of Councils of Government is the statewide organization representing the state’s 19 regional planning commissions and councils of governments. The commissions are engaged in economic and community development, housing initiatives, safety and security, transportation planning and environment and quality-of-life issues.
“Disaster preparedness and mitigation planning is a key element in alleviating future losses resulting from disaster related events,” said Robin Simpson, Director Mark Twain Council of Government and MACOG Chairperson. “The regional planning commissions/councils of government across the State will provide a comprehensive network and delivery system to assist communities and counties in developing a long term recovery system, identifying deployable assets and create a disaster resilient environment. We are pleased to partner with the Missouri Department of Economic Development on this very significant project and know our joint efforts will be far reaching into the future.”
The federal CDBG funding will be administered by the Missouri Department of Economic Development.