[StBernard] St. Bernard Parish officials meet with leaders of HUD, DHS and FEMA

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Mon Mar 9 09:50:02 EDT 2009

St. Bernard Parish officials meet with federal recovery and housing

Reception held to thank FEMA and GOSHEP for help with recovery

St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro was able to discuss St. Bernard
issues with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan during their visit
Thursday as well as with FEMA Acting Administrator Nancy Ward during a
Wednesday reception held in St. Bernard to thank the federal and state
agencies for their assistance with the recovery.

President Taffaro said the meetings were focused, productive and included an
agreement to continue to improve the recovery partnership with practical
changes in process that creates results. Taffaro praised the state and
federal officials for such an early visit to the area. “This indicates that
we will not be forgotten in the transition.”

He met with Napolitano and Donovan privately in the morning as well as at
two public meetings with other elected officials later in the day. Sheriff
Jack Stephens and Fire Chief Thomas Stone also had the opportunity to
discuss critical needs of the first responders 3½ years after Katrina.

On Wednesday, Taffaro and other council members thanked officials from FEMA
and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness,
known as GOHSEP, for their critical assistance in the Recovery and Growth of
St. Bernard Parish during a reception held at the Council on Aging building.

St. Bernard Parish has been recognized as the top municipality with respect
to utilization and obligation of public assistance dollars in 2008 in the
Gulf Coast Region. Since January 2008, there have been more than $100
million obligated toward facilities and road improvements in St. Bernard.
This is amount is larger than the amount obligated for these projects in
2005, 2006 and 2007 combined.

That is in addition to more than $300 million since January 2008 from the
federal government for demolition and debris efforts.

“Our local, state and federal partnerships have allowed us to start and
complete more projects in 2008-09 than in the previous years since the
storms,” President Taffaro said.

President Taffaro with Jim Stark, Assistant Director of Recovery for the
Gulf Coast Region, and Acting FEMA Administrator Nancy Ward presented Col.
Eldridge Burns, FEMA Public Assistance Coordinator for four parishes
including St. Bernard Parish with a key to the parish in thanks for the
assistance that the local FEMA team has given to the parish in its recovery.

On the state level, he also thanked Mark DeBosier, Disaster Recovery Chief
for GOHSEP, Tabitha Burks, Disaster Recovery Specialist for St. Bernard,
Steve Brice and Jeff Amering, both GOHSEP State Applicant Liaisons, and
presented them with a key to the parish for the assistance that the local
GOHSEP team has given to the parish in its recovery.

Steve Brice said that he wanted to thank the local officials for persevering
in the ongoing effort for recovery.

Former Councilwoman and Clerk of the Council Polly Boudreaux presented Jim
Stark with a homemade crafted heart to put in his office because she wanted
the officials to know that they all have a piece of “our hearts” for their
efforts in the parish’s recovery.

President Taffaro also honored Larry Ingargiola, who was the Homeland
Security Director for the parish at the time Katrina hit, for starting the
recovery effort. He also recognized the Camp, Dresser and McKee
representatives for their efforts as the project manager on FEMA funded
projects in St. Bernard.

For more information about Recovery and Growth in St. Bernard Parish, visit
our website at www.sbpg.net
<https://mail.sbpg.net/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.sbpg.net/> .


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