City-parish to see reimbursement for all but $2.5 million
Hurricane Isaac, which churned through the Baton Rouge area in late August, exacted a toll of more than $9 million on East Baton Rouge Parish, according to budget documents from the city-parish Finance Department.
Of the $9,076,550 total price tag, Baton Rouge eventually will be reimbursed for all but about $2.5 million in losses.
The bulk of federal dollars covering the city-parish’s Isaac costs will come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which will provide $5.7 million.
The state will pay about $830,000 to East Baton Rouge to cover storm damage, while St. John the Baptist Parish will send the parish $3,155 for animal control services provided by East Baton Rouge.
By comparison, Hurricane Gustav, which plowed through Baton Rouge in 2008, cost the city-parish $53.2 million, said Marsha Hanlon, city-parish finance director.
“It could have been a lot worse,” said William Daniel, chief administrative officer for Mayor-President Kip Holden. “But it really points out why we have to have money in our reserve fund, if we have to expend $9 million before we get paid back.”
Last year, the Metro Council dipped into the parish reserve to supply additional funding to the District Attorney’s Office, the Baton Rouge Alcohol and Drug Center and the Constable’s Office.
Holden told the council that the city-parish’s reserve funds are important to preserve in the event of natural disasters and unexpected emergencies such as hurricanes.
The majority of city-parish funds spent on Isaac — $6.3 million — were used for clearing, removing and disposing of debris including trees, limbs and damaged fencing.
About $2.1 million was spent for emergency protective measures involving Isaac ranging from police and fire labor to materials and supplies used to protect the public’s health and safety.
The city-parish plans to spend $674,000 on repairing and replacing roads, bridges, traffic signals, sewage pump stations and buildings, along with other infrastructure damaged by Isaac.
Hanlon said the reimbursement process should proceed more quickly in the aftermath of Isaac than following Hurricane Gustav. In fact, she said, the city-parish still awaits reimbursement for some Gustav-related expenses. She said the majority of Isaac funds still owed the city-parish should arrive within a few months.