ABBEVILLE - Vermilion Parish could be responsible for 25 percent of the cost of all emergency-related supplies sent to help residents following a disaster - including tarps, food and potable water - if proposed state budget cuts are approved by the Legislature.
Vermilion Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness Director Rebecca Broussard said Monday if House Bill 1 passes, the parish would be billed for 25 percent of the cost of emergency related supplies sent by the state to help residents.
Broussard said these items were provided to parishes free by the state in the past.
Only Louisiana National Guard services would remain free to the parish, she said.
The Vermilion Parish Police Jury agreed Monday to run a list of supplies - that residents would have to bring to shelters - in local publications in the event the proposed state budget cuts are approved.
Police Jury President Wayne Touchet said it was a good idea to let residents know they might need to bring the supplies with them to a shelter before a disaster strikes.
Broussard agreed, saying the parish would have to pay inflated Federal emergency Management Agency prices for the goods if the parish is in a position where it had no choice but to accept them.
“It would probably be cheaper for us to buy (the goods) at a local store,” Broussard said.
Agreeing with the assessment was Tim Creswell, assistant director of the parish Office of Emergency Preparedness and Red Cross of Acadiana Board member.
He added the national Red Cross was financially strapped in the wake of a series of national disasters.
“After what happened in Tuscaloosa, Joplin, Massachusetts and several wildfires across the United States, the Red Cross is stretched thin,” Creswell said.
“President Obama has cut hundreds of millions of dollars out of disaster preparation, and we cannot count on the Red Cross being there,” he said. “We may need to have our own people operate shelters.
“We will have to go back to the old way of serving cold cuts, and closing the shelter as soon as local grocery stores reopen,” he added.
Cresswell also said the parish was signing agreements with local stores to provide supplies after natural disasters, and the parish would be reimbursed 75 percent by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.