Denny Hoskins Capitol Report
Help is on the way for Missourians impacted by this spring’s floods. The president has approved a disaster declaration for 20 counties in Missouri. Three counties within the 21st Senatorial District – Carroll, Lafayette and Livingston – are now eligible for federal disaster relief.
Residents of these counties may apply for assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The agency can help with temporary housing, funding for repairs to homes and businesses and replacement of household items. Applications for most assistance programs covered by the latest declaration are due by Sept. 6, 2019.
Missouri’s application for a disaster declaration is in response to widespread damage from recent floods and tornados. State officials examined 1,650 primary residences impacted by storms since April 29 and found that 953 were destroyed or severely damaged. Of more than 250 businesses examined, 125 had been destroyed or sustained major damage.
FEMA offers a variety of programs to aid those impacted by flooding. Homeowners or renters who were displaced may qualify for housing assistance for up to 18 months. Money may also be available to pay for repairs to damaged structures or replacement of household items. Other assistance may cover moving costs, medical, dental or child care and some clean-up expenses.
Residents impacted by the storms and floods are encouraged to document their damage with photographs and video, and retain receipts for any goods or services purchased.
The 20 counties included in the president’s disaster declaration are: Andrew, Atchison, Boone, Buchanan, Carroll, Chariton, Cole, Greene, Holt, Jackson, Jasper, Lafayette, Lincoln, Livingston, Miller, Osage, Pike, Platte, Pulaski and St. Charles. This is the second disaster declaration for Missouri in less than two months. On May 20, a major disaster was declared for 13 counties, Carroll and Ray counties among them, for flooding and storms in late March and early April.
For more information, call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362.
Tourism Dollars for the District
Recently, I learned of state grants that will help communities in the 21st District attract visitors and generate tourism revenue.
Each year, the Missouri Division of Tourism awards money to local communities through its Cooperative Marketing Program. This year, the state of Missouri directed nearly $40,000 to tourism organizations in Johnson and Livingston counties.
The Warrensburg Convention and Visitors Bureau will receive $25,000 to pay for advertising expenses. The bureau also received more than $4,300 to help fund a brand-awareness study. In Lafayette County, the Lexington Tourism Commission received $4,244 to pay for media placement and a $5,000 grant to help develop creative strategy.
Those of us who live in this part of the state know how great our local communities are, but sometimes it’s necessary to spread the word. By promoting our communities, we attract visitors who shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants and buy gas from our stations. The Missouri Division of Tourism has a big job promoting all areas of the state and it’s good to see them devote some attention to this area. I appreciate those folks recognizing that our west-central Missouri towns have a story to tell, and lending us a hand getting our message out.
Things are pretty quiet at the Missouri State Capitol right now. We’re all keeping an eye on the governor’s office to see which bills he signs. We don’t expect many vetoes, but if he rejects some of the legislation passed in 2019, we’ll be back in Jefferson City in September to take another look at those measures. In the meantime, I’m in the district, meeting with groups and concerned citizens. My staff is hard at work at the Capitol and is ready to assist you if you need anything. They’re also preparing an end-of-session update and I hope to have copies available at upcoming events.
As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-4302. You may also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.