[StBernard] Field of Dreams

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Tue Mar 13 11:05:16 EDT 2007

To All Subscribers to the ListServe,

Please take the next few comments as informational and as an attempt to help
understand a small part of the recovery process. Some of the recent
postings are potentially leading people to question or believe that the
parish government can take reimbursement money for recreation or other
departments and somehow transfer it to indiviudal assistance. WE CAN NOT
BE DISTRIBUTED TO RESIDENTS. Irregardless of how we think it should be
done, that is not how the FEMA program and Stafford Act work. We have
continued to request modifications to the regulations and hopefully this
congressional session will see some improvement to those issues. When we
move project worksheets to improved projects or alternate projects such as
is being worked through with recreation and other departments, we do not
have the authority to move it to unrelated projects. Also, when projects
are abandoned for an alternate project FEMA penalizes the amount the project
can be funded. In the case of recreation, the recovery plan significantly
downsizes the recreation department to fewer parks. The centralized park at
Versailles is part of a whole program to revamp recreation. The phase in
plan will take years and the pace of the work for the other phases past
phase one will be linked to the growth, needs, and ability of the parish to
sustain the facility.

While there are many emotions still being experienced for many different
reasons, it is really important that people know that there have been
countless hours of discussion and belabored pleadings to make the FEMA
system recovery friendly and effective. Because a news article highlighted
one particular project should not be interpreted as the only project that is
being worked through the system. Remember there are over 400 project
worksheets being followed at some level. Granted some mis-steps on parish
government's part has kept some of these from being properly obtained and
the hold up with the state system is a nightmare in itself, but the bottom
line is that the ongoing disconnect between the council expressing its will
for recovery and the administration choosing to move at a different pace is
partly a system default and partly a local internal problem. Hopefully, the
internal problem has been resolved so that there is more opportunity f or
the branches of parish government to be on one page. As far as the larger
system defaults, for now we just have to keep making our case and playing by
the Golden Rule- whoever has the Gold makes the Rule and we do not have the

Good luck and God Bless,

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