Area government gets pleasant surprise reminder of last winter’s storm
by Dennis Sharkey
Area government entities have opened their mailboxes this month to find a pleasant surprise in the form of money.
Last year’s winter storm during the holiday season seems like a long time ago to many. County wide, public works directors are busy finishing up summer road and infrastructure projects while preparing for this coming winter’s challenges. However, now they’re getting a reminder about last year’s storms, but the reminder is welcome.
Last week Jefferson County Road and Bridge Director Francis Hubbard reported that the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a check to the county for $262,000 for reimbursement for costs incurred as a result of the storm.
When President Barack Obama declared last winter’s storms a disaster, the county and the cities within became eligible for FEMA funding.
Hubbard also said he expected to receive more reimbursement funding as more repair work is completed.
Other entities are also seeing the green. Oskaloosa City Clerk Patty Hamm said last week that Oskaloosa had received a check for slightly more than $20,000 for last year’s storms. Close to $18,000 of the funding is from FEMA with the state supplementing the rest of the amount.
McLouth City Administrator Carl Chalfant said at a meeting last week that the check was a surprise.
“I had wrote it off since we hadn’t heard anything,’ Chalfant said.
McLouth received about $4,900 from FEMA. Chalfant said the city had reported about $14,000 in winter storm costs, however, most of those costs were not accepted by FEMA. The agency said some of the road repairs requested were denied because the roads were already in disrepair.
Nortonville has also received a payment from FEMA. City Clerk Barb Polson said the city was issued a check for more than $13,400 for claims the city made. Polson said the city was reimbursed for quite a bit of snow removal because the city had several emergency calls.
Winchester Clerk Pam Erhart said as of last week the city had not received a payment. Her city was requesting nearly $8,000 in total damages.
FEMA reimburses agencies for damages caused by the disaster that are associated with infrastructure such as road, water line or utility damages. Agencies are not reimbursed for snow removal costs, unless it was to remove snow for an emergency vehicle such as the case in Nortonville.
Agencies were asked to compile a total costs number. FEMA representatives then visited the communities to assess the claims and determine a cost figure. FEMA then reimburses the agencies for 75 percent of the total cost. The state kicks in another 10 percent leaving the local agency with a responsibility of 15 percent of the total cost.
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