Monroe County is among many Indiana communities that have lost grant funds because of a dispute with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA. The federal agency has suspended millions of dollars in grants that had been allocated to projects in Indiana. The move was spurred by a conflict between FEMA and the city of Kokomo, which is building a new baseball stadium. FEMA contends the city of Kokomo is violating an agreement about leaving open space on eight properties purchased with federal grants. Kokomo has appealed in court. In the meantime, FEMA has responded in a way that removed money from communities statewide. Monroe County was one of 15 counties planning to update its hazard mitigation plans this year before FEMA cut funding. Here’s Jim Comerford, the director of Emergency Management for Monroe County.
The funding from FEMA, Comerford says, would have helped Monroe County and the 14 others pay for an outside vendor to assist in the updating of our hazard mitigation plans.
Having an updated mitigation plan would become an issue if a disaster were to affect Monroe County. Comerford says FEMA requires an up-to-date plan before distributing disaster relief funds.
FEMA’s hazard mitigation grants and assistance will not be given to Indiana counties again until the 8 parcels of land that are currently part of Kokomo’s new baseball stadium return to open space, or until the matter is sorted out in court.