As Joplin moved into recovery mode following the devastating tornado that ripped through the southwest Missouri city a year ago, finance director Leslie Jones had the added burden of not just worrying over how best to help the struggling community but also how to manage the financial toll. It cut a swath through the town, taking 161 lives, injuring more than 900, and destroying more than 8,000 homes and businesses, the city’s high school, and a hospital. More than one-third of the city’s 50,000 residents were forced to relocate. It was the one of the deadliest and costliest tornados on record. With a mass rebuilding now underway, Joplin’s balance sheet weathered the impact through a combination of factors. The city’s conservative fiscal philosophy, a general fund balance bolstered by the fortuitous collection of sales tax revenues earmarked for new fire stations, state and federal help, and a national outpouring of generosity all helped the city manage. Under federal emergency management guidelines, the federal government covers 75% of such expenses. The state picks up 10% of the remaining funding and the city is responsible for 15%. The city was able to count some of the donated services to help receive additional federal reimbursements.