WASHINGTON -- A $14.5 million Community Disaster Loan for St. Tammany Parish from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has been forgiven under a provision authored by Sen. Mary Landrieu as part of the 2013 Homeland Security Appropriations bill.
“The long-awaited forgiveness of St. Tammany Parish’s Katrina disaster loan is welcome news,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “We would like to thank Sen. Landrieu for her tenacity during this long process. The close-out of the disaster loan ends one of the last chapters of our Katrina recovery, and helps us get one giant step further away from that horrific event.”
Landrieu said that the provision fixed a "flawed formula" that prevented cancelling $286.7 million in disaster loans for the communities in southeast Louisiana.
“Today is a great victory for the people of St. Tammany," Landrieu said, "but there are other communities that are still waiting for their disaster loans to be cancelled. I am hopeful that in the coming weeks and months more of our communities will see the same relief from this unfair loan debt.”
The loan forgiveness for St. Tammany follows a $35.6 million disaster loan forgiveness for the Washington Parish Sheriff's Department, the Town of Jean Lafitte, the Town of Grand Isle, the City of Slidell, the Village of Folsom, the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans, the Orleans Levee District, the Regional Transit Authority (Orleans Parish) and the Orleans Parish Communication District in August. And a $7.5 million loan forgiveness for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office in September.
A statement from Landrieu's office said: "The old formula failed to recognize necessary expenses; penalized communities for revenues that are otherwise dedicated; and omitted budgetary circumstances beyond the three-year period following the disaster. Sen. Landrieu said that the current cancellations are based on three-year data, and that she is hopeful to see more cancellations once five- and seven-year data is taken into account."