Press Releases

Federal Assistance to be Awarded to 18 Counties Harmed by June Flooding

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; August 14, 2014:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced President Obama has declared 18 counties as federal disaster areas as a result of severe weather on June 5-10. State and local governments and electrical utilities spent nearly $10 million in response to and recovery from the wind damage and flash-flooding impacts.

“This federal aid will help our communities in rebuilding and recovery,” Haslam said. “State and local teams worked quickly to survey damage in more than 35 counties to determine the impact of these storms, and we are grateful for this assistance.”

Anderson, Bledsoe, Carroll, Decatur, Henry, Hickman, Houston, Lawrence, Lewis, Madison, Marion, Maury, McNairy, Moore, Perry, Roane, Sequatchie, and Tipton counties will have access to federal assistance that provides reimbursement for 75 percent of eligible costs. A presidential disaster declaration also includes FEMA’s hazard mitigation grant program on a statewide basis.

Three fatalities were attributed to the severe weather and flooding. Two deaths occurred in Lawrence County and another in Hickman County.

The National Weather Service confirmed two tornado touchdowns were part of the storm system. The first tornado, an EF-1 with wind speeds in excess of 80 m.p.h., left a 12-mile debris path across Lake and Obion Counties on June 7. The other confirmed tornado, rated an EF-0, touched down in Kingston, Tenn. More than 28,000 customers were left without power due to wide-spread damage from downed trees and broken power lines.

The disaster declaration provides FEMA’s Public Assistance to the declared counties for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and rebuilding and repairing roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings, utilities and recreational facilities.

Additional information about state and federal assistance for affected counties will be released as details become available.

Business and Economy NewsTracker

Free Land!

WREG Channel 3 in Memphis is reporting on a West Tennessee town’s bid to boost the economy: give away city-owned land to businesses. The video report shows a billboard advertising the offer from the city of Adamsville, “We have free land for business or industry.”

One resident explains to WREG that her son would prefer to live near home, but must live in Florida where jobs are more available. The unemployment rate for McNairy County averaged over 10 percent in the last year, like most other counties in the state — the average rate was lower in the metropolitan areas.

A city leader explains that the offer requires businesses to meet hiring standards to qualify for a site on the 100-acre development park. “We put you under the gun to be successful. When you’re successful, the city’s successful,” city Administrator Terry Thrasher tells WREG.

Absent from the story is any criticism of the plan, which is in direct competition with private developers and land owners in the area, who presumably would be unable to give their land away for free.