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Dustin Hinkel on funding disaster mitigation and recovery
Episode 493rd May 2024 • PCC Local Time • Nancy Joan Hess
00:00:00 00:49:19

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A disaster happens where hazards meet human systems.

My guest today shared that quote and much more about what local governments can do to lay the groundwork for a smooth recovery process should the worst-case scenario occur.

We go deep on what can be done before a disaster strikes. We talk about how to expedite the funding process and the unintended consequences when communities do not make the necessary investments before disaster strikes.

Dustin Hinkel works as a consultant at Guidehouse to help state and local governments, schools, nonprofits, find, acquire, spend, and retain grant funding to help them implement their most complex and critical public service projects.

Dustin has an academic background in environmental policy and natural and technological hazards. He began his career in county emergency management but eventually rose to the role of County Executive in Taylor County, Florida before moving into a consultant role with Guidehouse.

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[00:03:00] Dustin's background in government and his education in emergency management. Transition from theoretical knowledge to practical application in emergency management.

[00:06:00] The realization of the importance of funding and fiscal stewardship in disaster management. Challenges in managing budgets during disasters.

[00:09:00] Support from mentors and networks in understanding public sector finance and budgeting. The role of regional associations in Florida's emergency management program.

[00:12:00] The impact of insurance rates on government investment in infrastructure.

Case study: The National Flood Insurance Program and its effects during the Great Recession.

[00:15:00] Steps to expedite funding in the event of a disaster.

Importance of pre-existing relationships and mutual aid agreements.

[00:18:00] The role of industry partners in disaster response and recovery.

Example: Utilizing local resources such as tree haulers and timber professionals.

[00:21:00] Typical questions from governments after a disaster regarding reimbursement.

Categories of expenses eligible for FEMA reimbursement and the importance of documentation.

[00:24:00] Political and administrative challenges in securing disaster declarations and assistance.

Example: Taylor County's experience during Hurricane Hermine.

[00:27:00] The importance of persistence and understanding FEMA processes.

The iterative nature of the public assistance process and interactions with FEMA officials.

[00:30:00] The complexities of local vendor preferences in federal procurement processes.

Balancing community involvement with federal standards for fair and competitive pricing.

[00:33:00] The importance of documenting baseline conditions for projects like beach renourishment and road reconstruction. Ensuring transparency and accountability in federal funding.

[00:36:00] Discussion on the Francis Scott Key Bridge and the role of federal government in local disasters. The importance of local and industry input in rebuilding infrastructure.

[00:39:00] The hypothetical scenario of FEMA funding as a loan rather than a grant.

The potential impact on community investment and infrastructure maintenance.

[00:42:00] Ensuring long-term maintenance of infrastructure built with federal funds.

The importance of a life-cycle approach to investment and maintenance.

[00:45:00] The challenges of maintaining infrastructure and the example of a sports complex.

The need for ongoing investment and planning for future maintenance.

[00:48:00] Skills needed for engaging in complex disaster recovery environments.

The role of flexibility, compassion, and external support in disaster management.

[00:51:00] The benefits of external assistance in managing disaster recovery.

The continuous nature of local government responsibilities and the need for ongoing support.



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