Nebraska To Offer Additional Payments For 2019 Flood Relief

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska will pay out public assistance beyond what it normally offers to local governments hit by the 2019 floods, a state agency announced Thursday.

The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency said Gov. Pete Ricketts has approved the payments for the state's share of disaster relief. The money will go to Nebraska's power, irrigation and natural resources districts, which don't usually receive that form of assistance from the state.

The agency said Ricketts approved the state share because of the extent of flood, wind, and winter storm damage. Ricketts' decision follows President Joe Biden's move to increase the federal cost share from the normal 75% of the cost to 90%. Under the president's order, the federal share for public assistance payments will increase an estimated $65 million.

Nebraska Emergency Management Agency Assistant Director Bryan Tuma said the money will significantly defray the cost burden for the local governments.

Lawmakers have previously approved $54 million to help with disaster recovery. State officials said the governor will determine how much the state share will be and how much each local government will end up paying.