Raleigh, N.C. – Legislation filed Tuesday by members of both parties in the North Carolina General Assembly would create a Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Fund and transfer $56.5 million from the state’s record savings reserve to the account as a down payment on emergency spending needs.
The new fund would be maintained as a special account administered by the Office of State Budget and Management or another state agency determined by the governor. All state and federal appropriations for Hurricane Florence relief and recovery efforts would be budgeted through the fund.
Of the $56.5 million initial transfer proposed in House Bill 4 Hurricane Florence Emergency Response Act, $6.5 million is for the Department of Public Instruction to supplement lost compensation for school lunch employees whose income is sourced from national school lunch and breakfast programs.
Another $50 million will provide the state match for federal disaster assistance programs and pay for the costs of relief in North Carolina counties designated under a major disaster declaration by the President of the United States.
The legislation directs state agencies to strive to acquire goods and services from historically underutilized business vendors, whether directly as principal contractors or indirectly as subcontractors.
It further addresses immediate needs to mitigate and prevent large populations of floodwater mosquitoes from emerging in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Those mosquito control efforts include mosquito abatement activities, integrated mosquito management activities, education regarding mosquito bite avoidance, and distribution of materials for prevention measures.
The legislation also allows the waiver of any fees assessed by the Division of Motor Vehicles for duplicate drivers licenses or identification cards, applications for certificates of title, registration plate replacements, applications for duplicate registration cards, and late payments of a motor vehicle registration renewal fee.
North Carolina can afford the Hurricane Florence relief measures thanks to a $2 billion rainy day fund that is a record in total amount and percentage of the state budget.