Office of Mayor-President
City of Baton Rouge/Parish of East Baton Rouge
SHARON WESTON BROOME
Feb. 6, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Adam Smith, Department of Environmental Services, (225) 389-4865
Dr. Tamiara Wade, Asst. Chief Administrative Officer: (225) 389-3100
Michelle McCalope, Communications Office: (225) 389-7957
BATON ROUGE – Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced this afternoon that the next phase of the EBR debris removal program, following recent authorization and an extension granted by the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) to continue with eligible flood debris removal activities.
Mayor Broome requested the extension, which sustains federal cost-share reimbursements for Category A debris removal activities, on Jan. 18 in response to a number of remaining issues across East Baton Rouge Parish associated with debris removal following the August 2016 flooding event.
The new deadline of Aug. 13 provides the City-Parish with additional time and resources to implement a multi-faceted program as a continuation of existing efforts focused on addressing sustained public health and safety issues associated with flood debris.
“We know the very difficult path toward long-term recovery for our residents is one that continues for so many of us who were impacted by the August 2016 flooding,” said Mayor Broome. “This extension provides a much needed opportunity to utilize federal resources to support that recovery process across our most heavily impacted neighborhoods while continuing to address the needs of our residents associated with the flood debris that still remains across Baton Rouge.”
As part of this program, City-Parish officials are focused on addressing condemned residential housing units inundated by the recent flooding, where homeowners have abandoned their property and the structures represent significant short- and long-term concerns associated with neighborhood blight and public health and safety. Utilizing existing City-Parish condemnation processes and ordinances, these homes are set to be demolished in the coming weeks and months with all resulting debris cleared from the public right-of-way following the demolitions.
Additionally, crews will continue to identify and address needs associated with flood debris removal across the City of Baton Rouge and the unincorporated areas of East Baton Rouge Parish most heavily impacted by the flooding. Moving forward, residents still in need of flood debris collection should contact the Department of Environmental Services at (225) 389-4865 with as much information as possible to help inform the allocation of debris removal resources in the coming weeks, including the type and location of the debris.
At this time and under current FEMA policies, construction and reconstruction waste materials remain ineligible for FEMA reimbursement and thus will not be collected by City-Parish debris removal crews, as the disposal of any such materials is the responsibility of the homeowner and/or contractor. Mayor Broome and City-Parish officials are in active discussions with FEMA and GOHSEP – in coordination with other local, state, and federal officials – to request a policy shift or exemption that would provide a financial mechanism and federal reimbursement for the removal of any such materials. However, no timetable exists for when and if any policy changes regarding the removal construction and reconstruction waste materials may be enacted and, until such a change is announced, it remains the homeowner’s responsibility to dispose of such materials and/or in accordance with any contract that may be in place with the contractor performing the work.