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10 more counties eligible for storm aid

An additional 10 Kentucky counties are now eligible for federal public assistance reimbursement and program grants under President Barack Obama's Major Disaster Declaration of Feb. 5.

The added counties are Boone, Casey, Gallatin, Hancock, Henry, Kenton, Simpson, Taylor, Trimble and Wolfe, according to a news release issued by the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The total number of federally designated counties is now 103.

Public assistance is available to eligible state and local governments and to certain private non-profit organizations on a cost-sharing basis. The goal is to help rebuild public infrastructure damage from the January ice storm, which knocked out power to more than 770,000 customers and is blamed for at least 36 deaths. The hardest-hit areas of Western Kentucky lost all means of communications.

The disaster declaration amendment also makes federal funding available to all of the designated counties except Allen, Clay and Perry for what is known as Categories C through G, which cover road systems and bridges, water control structures, public buildings, public utilities, and parks and recreation. All 103 designated counties are eligible for reimbursement for debris removal and emergency protective measures.

The federal share of the costs is 75 percent, with the remaining share coming from local and state government.