The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Business

March 10, 2014

County could get federal relief

Grant could reimburse some January expenses

INDIANAPOLIS — Some federal aid to pay for snow expenses could be coming to Madison County.

Gov. Mike Pence has decided to ask the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance for local governments to help pay for the tremendous expenses accrued during the record-setting snowfall in early January.

John Erickson, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, said the state can only ask for emergency funds to specific counties if a record amount of snowfall has fallen in those counties or they are adjacent to a county that saw a record amount of snowfall. The governor listed 49 Indiana counties that qualify for the assistance.

Alexandria Mayor Jack Woods said any help his town can get would be a welcome relief.

"Any time we can get reimbursed for our expenditures it's a good thing," Woods said. "It would help us and our budget out tremendously."

Erickson said the window for reimbursement is a very small one. The federal assistance, if provided, would only cover some expenses from Jan. 5 through Jan. 9. That was when Madison County saw large amounts of snowfall, including 13 inches in some places.

If FEMA grants the funds, local governments would have to submit expenditures from that time period. Erickson said FEMA would then look over the submissions and decide what it would reimburse.

"The things FEMA might reimburse would be fuel expenses or overtime," Erickson said. "They would pay 75 percent of the costs."

The grants are aimed at helping cover additional expenses caused by the extreme weather. Reimbursement for plowing might not make the cut, but additional expenses from having tremendous snowfall totals such as extra gas, overtime or extra salt might warrant federal funds.

Madison County and the other counties will know whether the grant has been accepted within 30 days. Erickson said FEMA usually responds sooner than the month timeline.

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