Bill aimed at speeding hurricane recovery construction projects filed in House

FILE - Homeowner Jennifer Baker walks through the front door of her home damaged by Hurricane Florence in 2018 while repairs continue in Spring Lake, N.C., Tuesday, July 2, 2019. Nearly six years after extreme rainfall and flooding from Hurricane Matthew damaged many North Carolina homes, some homeowners are still left waiting on repairs. A new bipartisan General Assembly committee tasked with investigating the delays holds its first meeting Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022, on the four-year anniversary of when Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

RALEIGH — A bill aimed at getting citizens displaced by hurricanes back in their homes more quickly was filed in the House on Feb. 14.  

House Bill 119, titled “NCORR/Increase Informal Bid Threshold,” was filed by Reps. Mark Pless (R-Haywood), Sarah Stevens (R-Surry), House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne), and Brendan Jones (R-Columbus).  

The bill increases the informal bid threshold for disaster recovery construction and repair projects by amending current law to require NCORR to use the statute’s informal bid process when awarding contracts of $250,000 or more but less than $500,000. Purchase of modular or manufactured homes is included in the construction definitions.  

The informal bid process allows an agency to select the lowest responsive bidder when considering the quality, performance, and time specified in the bid. 

This is the only bill filed so far this session attempting to address the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency’s (NCORR) slow progress of getting citizens back into a home following Hurricanes Matthew and Florence.  

Last fall, a joint special committee on hurricane response held two hearings on NCORR’s slow recovery efforts and the management of $778 million in federal disaster relief received for both hurricanes Matthew (2016) and Florence (2018).  

At the December 2022 hearing, NCORR’s Director Laura Hogshead told the committee that Rebuild NC, the office responsible for getting citizens back in their homes, had completed 889 out of a total 4,313 homes needed. In September, she reported 789 homes out of a total 4,197 were completed. 

As of Feb 1. Richard J. Trumper was named Senior Advisor for Disaster Recovery by the N.C. Department of Public Safety. He was serving as executive director of Disaster Recovery with the Office of State Budget and Management at the time of the announcement.  

Trumper is slated to work with NCORR and N.C. Emergency Management (NCEM) to get disaster victims “back in their homes faster,” according to a statement from the Department of Public Safety.

About A.P. Dillon 1292 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_