Gov. Beshear provides Team Kentucky Update
FRANKFORT, Ky. (KFVS) - Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has provided another Team Kentucky Update on March 16.
Gov. Beshear gave Kentuckians an update on economic development growth; the second round of funding from the Cleaner Water Program; expansion of the Everybody Counts program; the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and recovery and rebuilding efforts in Eastern and Western Kentucky. He also named Walker Montgomery, Darnell “SuperChef” Ferguson and the Rousseau Volunteer Fire Department as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars.
Gov. Beshear highlighted two economic development projects that are expected to create 54 jobs and that represent more than $35M in new investment.
On March 14, Gov. Beshear announced a new distribution facility in Midway for Lakeshore Learning Materials, a developer of educational materials and classroom furniture and supplies, creating 40 full-time jobs with a $27.3M investment.
On March 15, the Governor announced continued momentum of the state’s manufacturing sector as Lexair Inc. will expand existing operations in Lexington with an $8.5M investment creating 14 quality jobs.
Cleaner Water Program
Gov. Beshear announced the commitment of $32,384,071 in the second round of funding from the Cleaner Water Program to support 75 projects that will provide clean drinking water and improve water infrastructure across 19 counties in Kentucky.
Funding has been committed to all 120 Kentucky counties and all $500M has been allocated. In total, the Cleaner Water Program will bring water or sewer services to an estimated 4,255 unserved homes and improve water or sewer service for 88,115 underserved homes.
The Governor announced that Everybody Counts, his successful career and education pilot with Jefferson County Public Schools, will add four new business partners in its second year. The Center for Healthcare Workforce Innovation, CSX Transportation, Southpaw and WireCrafters are joining the original Everybody Counts business partners of UPS, Ford Motor Co., GE Appliances and Kroger in Jefferson County this year.
Gov. Beshear also announced that the success of Everybody Counts in JCPS is serving as a launching pad to expand similar initiatives for graduating seniors in Fayette, Franklin, Scott and Shelby counties. Everybody Counts is actively recruiting graduating seniors, as well as business, postsecondary and community partners in all five Kentucky school districts.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
Gov. Beshear said that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released nearly $8M to Kentucky for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. This brings the total amount of funding for LIHEAP to almost $81M.
Eastern Kentucky Flood Update
The Governor provided an update on Eastern Kentucky’s rebuilding efforts. Currently, 189 families are housed in travel trailers, and Kentucky State Parks are now housing 16 people, down from the 360 people sheltered on September 1, 2022.
As of this week, there is over $16.9M in awards approved for the buy-out program. The awards account for 93 properties from the City of Jackson and Breathitt, Knott, Letcher and Perry counties. Homeowners wishing to learn more about the program are encouraged to contact their local judge/executive or emergency management office for more information.
Last week, Gov. Beshear released a new Request for Proposal for Program Management expertise. Proposals from interested parties are due by March 24 at 3:30 p.m. EDT.
The Governor said the Private Property Debris Removal, or PPDR, will build on contractor activities to restore safe and sound communities. More details on eligibility criteria will be released soon and will be available on the Eastern Kentucky flood resources website. To begin the process, property owners must contact their fiscal court if they have flood-related debris that needs to be collected.
Someone representing the county will then come to the site and assess whether the debris is eligible for this program. So far, there are nearly 200 properties in four counties that have requested assistance. The state expects pickups to begin as soon as next week.
EKY and WKY SAFE Fund Awards
Gov. Beshear announced more awards from the Eastern Kentucky SAFE Fund to communities and public entities impacted by the devastating late July 2022 floods. This week, nearly $22.5M in funding was approved for communities, including:
- $52,780 to the City of Booneville to fund a FEMA match
- $3M to the Breathitt County Fiscal Court to alleviate fiscal strain
- Over $1.8M to the Breathitt County School District to alleviate fiscal strain
- Over $670,000 to the Clay County Fiscal Court to alleviate fiscal strain and fund a FEMA match
- $897,000 to the City of Hazard to fund a FEMA match
- Nearly $447,000 to the Owsley County Fiscal Court to alleviate fiscal strain and fund a FEMA match
- $2.8M to the Perry County Fiscal Court to fund a FEMA match
- $10M to Kentucky Emergency Management to cover costs of private property debris removal
- $2.8M to the Knott County high-ground site, Olive Branch, for water and wastewater infrastructure
The Governor also announced a $26,600 award from the Western Kentucky SAFE Fund to Bowling Green Municipal Utilities to bridge the funding gap for a fiber system installation project.
Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced an overhaul of the agency’s disaster recovery efforts to better serve communities who face the direct impacts of weather-related disasters. The steps as they will streamline the agency’s disaster recovery and resilience work by increasing coordination, reducing bureaucracy and increasing capacity to get recovery funding to our communities more quickly.
HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge made the announcement yesterday in Jackson, Ky., just as Kentucky is set to received nearly $300M in Community Development Block Grant–Disaster Recovery.
Funding for Western Kentucky Farmers
Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that farmers affected by the December 21 tornadoes can apply for cost-share assistance through the Emergency Grain Storage Facility Assistance Program. Farmers can apply at their local Farm Service Agency office. Applications end on December 29.
Team Kentucky All-Stars
The Governor named honorees at the 55th annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars. A Nicholasville native, Walker Montgomery, shared his musical talents at the breakfast. Celebrity chef Darnell Ferguson, who spends his time giving back to the Louisville community with his nonprofit SuperChef’s CAPE, was the keynote speaker and shared stories about his remarkable journey.
The Rousseau Volunteer Fire Department of Breathitt County received the William Cooper Faith and Community in Action Award at the Prayer Breakfast for their work helping families in Eastern Kentucky affected by flooding. Governor Beshear said that he was happy to name the All-Stars after having breakfast.
“I can truly say, I left this morning’s breakfast feeling more hopeful and inspired than before I arrived. And that is thanks to some of the special people who took part in this event,” said Gov. Beshear. “Walker, Darnell and the entire team of the Rousseau Volunteer Fire Department, thank you for leading by example, helping our people and showing us the true spirit of Team Kentucky.”
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