RALEIGH — Several Carteret County municipalities were among more than 40 local governments in North Carolina to receive grants and zero-interest loans through the N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency.
The office announced last month it has awarded $43.7 million in grants and loans, to date, to help recovery from multiple hurricanes, while also building resiliency to reduce damage during future storms. Since last year’s launch of NCORR, a state-funded program within the Department of Public Safety, 41 local and tribal governments have received a collective 63 grants and loans to help with operating costs and recovery expenses.
The following Carteret County governments received funds through NCORR, according to information the office provided to the News-Times:
- Cape Carteret, $500,000 grant, for administrative expenditures such as payrolls and debt service payments due to disaster recovery.
- Atlantic Beach, $500,000 grant, for debt service payments and a part-time building inspector.
- Emerald Isle, $370,000, for debt service payments.
- Beaufort, $1 million loan, for Federal Emergency Management Agency debris removal projects, emergency response, cemetery cleanup and additional payroll.
- Emerald Isle, $2 million loan, for FEMA debris removal projects.
- Morehead City Fire & EMS Department, $174,000 grant, for equipment for water search and rescue team.
“Our communities are committed to rebuilding smarter and stronger and these funds will help foster new partnerships and make North Carolina more resilient against future storms,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a release from NCORR last month.
Emerald Isle was a recipient of loan and grant funds from NCORR. Finance Officer Laura Rotchford told the News-Times the town spent just under $2.2 million on debris removal following Hurricane Florence in 2018. Along with a few other smaller contracted repairs in late 2018, the town quickly spent most its general fund balance recovering from Florence.
“We were so pleased to learn of the grant and the opportunity in early 2019,” Ms. Rotchford said. “…We were confident that FEMA and NC DPS would reimburse the Town, as we had worked closely with them to file our claims, but we were uncertain of the timeline of the reimbursements.”
Ms. Rotchford said town was beginning phase one of the post-Florence beach nourishment project around the same time it applied for the NCORR funds. She said the town decided to apply for the grant and the loan in order to have sufficient cash on hand for any uncertainties.
Emerald Isle began receiving FEMA reimbursements in July 2019, and Ms. Rotchford said the town closed the NCORR loan and returned the full $2 million as of April 2020.
“I do think it is a great program, and I hope that the State will be able to offer another program like that in the future in the event we have another major storm,” she said.
Grants of up to $1 million are still available to local governments as short-term assistance to pay for certain operating expenses or to provide additional support for disaster recovery. Information on the grant application process on NCORR’s website, RebuildNC.gov. The 2020 loan application period has now closed, but another application period will be announced in coming months.
Gov. Cooper established NCORR in late 2018 after North Carolina experienced two devastating hurricanes in as many years, Matthew and Florence. The office administers nearly $1 billion in U.S. Housing and Urban Development disaster recovery and mitigation funding, as well as state disaster recovery funds. In addition to local government grants and loans, NCORR manages programs statewide that include homeowner recovery, infrastructure, affordable housing, resiliency and strategic buyout.
Contact Elise Clouser at firstname.lastname@example.org; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.