The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) has awarded disaster recovery assistance to eight local jurisdictions for 12 long-term recovery projects through the Infrastructure Match Program. The anticipated amount of the awards, based on estimated project costs, is nearly $7 million. The award amount is subject to change as actual project costs are verified.
In response to the devastating floods of 2019, the federal government declared a major disaster (DR-4420). Under this disaster declaration, and in coordination with the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provided funds to local entities in Nebraska through the Public Assistance (PA) Program and the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). Funds received through both programs are subject to a cost share; the federal government covers a portion of eligible project costs, and the local entity is responsible for a share.
In July 2021, DED and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) entered into a grant agreement for $108.9 million in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding to support Nebraska’s long-term flood recovery. The execution of this agreement followed several months of considerable effort and coordination at the federal, state, and local levels. As part of the agreement with HUD, DED assessed Nebraska’s unmet disaster recovery needs to develop an action plan for the use of CDBG-DR funds. Based on the needs assessment and public comments, establishing a funding mechanism to help local jurisdictions with the cost share for FEMA PA and HMGP projects was identified as a top priority. Accordingly, DED established the Infrastructure Match Program to assist with the local cost-share obligations for FEMA projects awarded under DR-4420.
Launching the CDBG-DR program and its funding opportunities required meticulous planning, outreach, and execution. The DED team has worked closely with stakeholders—including NEMA, local units of government, regional economic development districts, non-profits, housing advocates, and the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority—to navigate this complex funding program. The State is federally required to expend 80% of the $108.9 million in areas of Nebraska that HUD identified as “most-impacted and distressed” (“HUD-MID”), which includes Dodge, Douglas, and Sarpy counties. Additionally, 70% of the funds must benefit low- and moderate-income (LMI) residents. For additional details about CBDG-DR program funding allocation, method of distribution, and award opportunities, please consult the CDBG-DR Action Plan, as amended. While similar to the annual CDBG program that DED administers, CDBG-DR is subject to additional requirements—such as the Stafford Act—which are detailed in DED’s CDBG-DR program materials.
In April 2022, DED issued notification of the CDBG-DR Infrastructure Match Program to local governments, special districts, and local economic development districts through email, webinar, and the agency’s website. Interested applicants were instructed to provide a pre-application by June 10, 2022. If at any time in the process a jurisdiction did not wish to participate in the Infrastructure Match Program, they were asked to provide a signed opt-out letter and return it to DED. Through August 2022, over 300 pre-applications were reviewed for initial eligibility. As the federal requirements under the FEMA programs do not neatly align with those of CDBG-DR, outreach to applicants was ongoing through the end of 2022 to gather additional needed information. If the project was found initially eligible, DED drafted a full application and returned it to the applicant for review and signature verification. Between February and March 2023, with the support of NEMA and respective local jurisdictions, DED commenced a thorough and detailed eligibility review of the submitted, full applications. The number of applications for funding through the Infrastructure Match Program far exceeded expectations, with several eligible applicants seeking funding for less than $1,000 and over 80% of applicants seeking less than $50,000. DED did not place a minimum request amount on applications.
With priority given to the HUD-MID area and LMI requirements, the Infrastructure Match Program assists public entities, local non-profit organizations, and other eligible entities by leveraging CDBG-DR funds in coordination with FEMA resources to support disaster recovery efforts. The use of CDBG-DR funds to cover the required non-Federal cost share or Local Match will ease the fiscal strain on communities recovering from the disastrous floods of 2019.
In support of disaster mitigation and resiliency, awarded HMGP projects include residential and commercial property acquisitions, residential elevation projects, and floodwater mitigation projects. DED will work directly with local jurisdictions via a subrecipient agreement for each HMGP project. The standard cost-share for HMGP is 75:25, with FEMA providing 75% of the total cost of the project and the local jurisdiction providing the remaining 25%. The actual CDBG-DR award amount provided by DED is subject to change based on the actual cost of the project and FEMA’s contribution. All project costs, inclusive of those funded by CDBG-DR, are subject to cost reasonableness.
DED anticipates releasing additional information about selected PA projects in the coming weeks. Due to the nature of the PA Program, DED and NEMA will coordinate in the distribution of Infrastructure Match Program awards related to it. PA projects include disaster-related repairs to roads, bridges, culverts, drainage systems, and public parks and facilities. The cost-share for PA projects under DR-4420 is 90:10, with FEMA providing 90% of the total cost of the project and the local jurisdiction providing the remaining 10%. The awarded amount is subject to change based on the actual cost of the project and FEMA’s contribution. All project costs, inclusive of CDBG-DR, are subject to cost reasonableness.
Quotes from Community Leaders about the Infrastructure Match Program
“The City of Fairbury is excited to utilize this funding to assist homeowners with mitigation of flood-prone properties and to financially help them to build resilient futures.”
– Laura Bedlan, Development Services Director, City of Fairbury
“The flood disaster of 2019 had a significant impact on the infrastructure of many of the communities and counties throughout our rural region. Nearly one million dollars of CDBG-DR funding will help some of the hardest-hit rural areas of the state to replace their local match funds, enabling these communities and counties to remain economically resilient. We cannot thank the DED Disaster Recovery Team enough for their dedicated assistance in navigating through this process.”
– Carla Kimball, Deputy Director/Disaster Recovery Coordinator, Central Nebraska Economic Development District
“The funding support provided by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development will help homeowners impacted by the 2019 floods achieve their goal of mitigating their property from future flooding.”
–Thomas Smith, Emergency Manager, Dodge County
Summary of Awards through the Infrastructure Match Program
|Program||Number of Local Jurisdictions Receiving Awards*||Number of Awarded Projects||Anticipated Award Amount|
|Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)||8||12||$6,995,458|
|Public Assistance (PA) Program||Over 50||Over 200||≈ $7,000,000|
* Multiple local jurisdictions may ultimately receive CDBG-DR awards via both HMGP and PA programs.
The table below lists HMGP projects receiving funding through the Infrastructure Match Program. DED, in coordination with NEMA, anticipates announcing the list of PA projects selected through the Infrastructure Match Program in the coming weeks as additional information is gathered and processed.
|Program||Project Number||Applicant Name||FEMA Project Name||Anticipated DR Amount|
|HMGP||NEMA #14||City of Peru||Peru Flood Buyout||$134,084.87|
|HMGP||NEMA #19||City of Wood River||City of Wood River Comprehensive Drainage Study & Improvement Project||$135,217.50|
|HMGP||NEMA #019||Dodge County||State of Nebraska Advance Assistance||$200,000.00|
|HMGP||NEMA #22||Dodge County||Platte River Gauge Monitoring Project||$9,720.00|
|HMGP||NEMA #32||Dodge County||Dodge Co Elevation||$127,845.50|
|HMGP||NEMA #34||North Bend Drainage District||North Bend Stormwater System and Drainage Improvements||$408,339.37|
|HMGP||NEMA #38||City of Fairbury||Fairbury Flood Buyout||$123,855.26|
|HMGP||NEMA #23||City of Omaha||South Papio Interceptor Siphon||$1,646,250.00|
|HMGP||NEMA #24||City of Omaha||Copper Creek Sewer Interceptor Phase I and Phase II||$2,682,141.19|
|HMGP||NEMA #31||Platte County||Platte County Elevation||$79,775.00|
|HMGP||NEMA #35||Platte County||Platte County Property Acquisition||$472,996.06|
|HMGP||NEMA #29||Village of Winslow||Winslow Property Acquisition||$975,233.07|
For information about the Infrastructure Match Program, visit the CDBG-DR webpage on DED’s website https://opportunity.nebraska.gov/programs/community/cdbg-dr/. Questions about the program may be emailed to DED’s Disaster Recovery Team at email@example.com.