What financial resources are available to cities to aid in the recovery process?

A city is expected to use its own resources and the resources available to it through mutual aid assistance before requesting assistance from the state.  37 TAC §7.23.  A city may need to tap into reserve funds if appropriations for disaster preparation or recovery were not included in the city’s original budget.  To add funds to the original budget, a city would need to amend its budget.  State law allows a city to increase its budget only if there a “grave public necessity to meet an unusual and unforeseen condition that could not have been included in the original budget through the use of reasonably diligent thought and attention...”  Tex. Local Government Code §102.009(b) (note that under section 102.101 of the Local Government Code, a city may amend its budget at any time for city purposes, provided total budget expenditures under the budget are not increased).  If the city amends its original budget to authorize an emergency expenditure, the city must file a copy of the order or resolution amending the budget with the city secretary, and attach such order or resolution to the original budget.  Id. at §102.009(c).  The amended budget must also be filed with the county clerk office.  Id. at §102.009(d). 

If local resources are exhausted and assistance is needed outside a mutual aid agreement, the mayor is authorized to request such resources from other political subdivisions or the state. See 37 TAC §§7.23 and 7.25. Before a city can request assistance from the state, a city must request assistance from the county where the city is located. See id. at §7.23.  A request for recovery assistance must be in writing and must indicate that the disaster is of such magnitude that local resources are inadequate to deal with it and the affected locality cannot recover without state or federal assistance.  Id. at §7.4. Additionally, the mayor must have declared a local state of disaster before she or he can request disaster recovery assistance from the state.  Id. at §7.41. An estimate of the extent of damages sustained to public and private property including homes and business date on the number of people who are deceased, injured or displaces must be attached to the request for assistance along with  a copy of the declaration of a local disaster.  Id. at 7.43. 

A city that participates in disaster preparation or disaster recovery is eligible for funding from the state disaster contingency fund to pay for costs incurred by the city in preparing for and recovering from a disaster.  Tex. Government Code §418.073(c).  A city that receives funding from the disaster contingency fund to pay for costs associated with disaster recovery and that subsequently receives reimbursement from the federal government, an insurer, or another source shall reimburse the disaster contingency fund. Id. at §418.073(f). A city that is experiencing financial hardship as a result of a disaster may also use funds provided to the city from the disaster contingency fund for purposes of providing local matching funds for FEMA qualifying projects.  Id. 418.073(h).

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1. May a city request emergency assistance from or provide emergency assistance to another local government?
2. What financial resources are available to cities to aid in the recovery process?