NASHVILLE - A bill needed for federal disaster officials to help pay for some of the clean up efforts following the devastating wildfires in the Gatlinburg area passed unanimously out of a Senate committee Tuesday morning.
The Senate State and Local Government committee approved the measure, brought by Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville. Overbey said the Federal Emergency Management Agency needs the legislation so that it can reimburse the city of Gatlinburg for cleaning up private property that isn't owned by someone who is an elderly, disabled or low-income resident.
"Passage of this bill will allow the city of Gatlinburg to clean up all private residents in a declared FEMA disaster area," Overbey said.
"It’s going to be important for the recovery effort to get everything cleaned up and back in order."
This fall the fires that stormed through Gatlinburg, a tourism-fueled town in the Great Smoky Mountains, killed 14 people, destroyed more than 2,000 homes and buildings and resulted in nearly $1 billion in damages. Overbey's bill is one of several measures aimed at helping the community recover.
Reach Dave Boucher at 615-259-8892 or firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @Dave_Boucher1.