$8.5 million awarded to Hopkins Co. for tornado recovery

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Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 3:09 PM CDT
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HOPKINS CO., Ky. (WFIE) - Gov. Andy Beshear announced that Hopkins County will receive $8.5 million in assistance from the West Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies (SAFE) fund to help them recover from the December tornadoes that devastated the county and took the lives of Hopkins County residents.

He recommended the funding, and the 2022 General Assembly supported the aid by passing Senate Bill 150, which the Governor signed April 15.

Hopkins County is the first county to receive SAFE funds.

“Our Western Kentucky communities are strong, but they need our help as they continue to recover and rebuild following the tornadoes that took so much from them last December,” Gov. Beshear said. “These funds will help Hopkins County cover services that are not eligible for FEMA support and will ease some of the financial strain they have endured as so many of their resources have been directed toward restoration.”

The $8.5 million awarded Friday to Hopkins County will be used to offset some of the cost of debris removal that is ineligible for FEMA assistance.

It will also help to ease the county’s strained fiscal liquidity and accommodate the 5.2% local share for FEMA-eligible expenses.

Hopkins County Judge Executive, Jack Whitfield, says this means it will help put county government financially back on track since many of their resources have been put towards restoration.

“Because of the storm, we put out approximately $6 million that we had not budgeted for or planned for, because we did not plan for a tornado obviously,” said Whitfield. “So, having put out that much funding puts us in a financial strain, we could use this to pay the regular bills.”

Judge Whitfield says although this money will not go directly to rebuilding, it’s going to significantly help keep Hopkins County stable and thriving.

“It’s wonderful and you know, the other part to this is it just goes along with all the cooperation from volunteers, from cities, and counties, and other states, including our state government coming together to make sure that we can continue to operate and we can continue to rebuild,” said Whitfield.

Governor Beshear says that in addition to Hopkins County, within the next few weeks, the state expects to see many applications from other affected counties hoping they can get this funding as well.

Judge Whitfield says he’s feeling thankful that Hopkins County was the first county to receive the funding.

“Thankfully, through the efforts of the legislature, especially Sen. Robby Mills and Gov. Beshear, the SAFE Act was passed,” Whitfield said. “This act will help provide funding for the county to continue to move forward in our rebuilding process. In a day when all too often politics gets in the way of getting work done, I am pleased that our state has come together to assist all of the counties that have seen so much devastation. Again, Gov. Beshear, Sen. Mills and the entire legislature – thank you and God bless.”

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