FRANKFORT, Ky. — Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians 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 $35 million in new investment.
Tuesday, 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 $27.3 million investment.
Wednesday, the Governor announced continued momentum of the state’s manufacturing sector as Lexair Inc. will expand existing operations in Lexington with an $8.5 million investment creating 14 quality jobs.
Cleaner Water Program
Tuesday, 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. Now, funding has been committed to all 120 Kentucky counties and all $500 million 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.
“As Governor, and also as a dad, I want to make sure all of our families can turn on their faucets and know that water is safe to give their children,” Gov. Beshear said. “That is why I worked with lawmakers to launch the Cleaner Water Program. I want to thank lawmakers for their partnership and support, and today, I’m proud to report that every single Kentucky county has received funding and all $500 million has been allocated.”
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.
“As Governor of an education first administration, I’m excited to see the continuing momentum build for Everybody Counts. I also want to encourage businesses to get on board with this initiative that can match employers with young adults at a time when Kentucky has more job opportunities than people to fill them,” said Gov. Beshear
To learn more, see the full release.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
Gov. Beshear said that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released nearly $8 million to Kentucky for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. This brings the total amount of funding for LIHEAP to almost $81 million. For more information, visit chfs.ky.gov.
“These dollars will directly help eligible families in need. Funding can help folks pay their heating, cooling and energy bills,” said Gov. Beshear. “So far, this program has helped around 150,000 Kentucky families.”
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 Sept. 1, 2022.
As of this week, there is over $16.9 million 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. To learn more about this RFP, visit the Finance and Administration Cabinet’s website or click here.
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.
If flood victims need help, they should call FEMA directly or visit a Multi-Agency Resource Center. The centers are on a rotating schedule, which consists of two onsite personnel and one remote support person as needed. The staff will rotate from county to county each day. Visit governor.ky.gov/FloodResources for more information.
The Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund has raised over $13.2 million from more than 41,500 donors. To contribute, click here.
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 $22.5 million in funding was approved for communities, including:
- $52,780 to the City of Booneville to fund a FEMA match;
- $3 million to the Breathitt County Fiscal Court to alleviate fiscal strain;
- Over $1.8 million 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;
- $2.8 million to the Perry County Fiscal Court to fund a FEMA match;
- $10 million to Kentucky Emergency Management to cover costs of private property debris removal; and
- $2.8 million 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
This week 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, Kentucky, just as Kentucky is set to received nearly $300 million in Community Development Block Grant –Disaster Recovery.
“These are critical funds that will support long-term recovery in the communities most impacted by the devastating flooding in Eastern Kentucky,” Gov. Beshear said. “State, federal and local leaders will continue to work together to make sure we rebuild every life and structure.”
Funding for Western Kentucky Farmers
Gov. Beshear shared good news for farmers affected by the December 2021 tornadoes. Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that farmers affected by the storms 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 Dec. 29, 2023. Visit fsa.usda.gov for more information.
“This program will provide financial assistance to farmers who are still recovering from losses due to the tornadoes, specifically aiding in the construction of new grain storage capacity,” said Gov. Beshear. “I urge you all to take advantage of these resources. We want to provide you with as many resources as possible to get back on your feet. Kentucky farmers are essential to our state’s success.”
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.
“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.”