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FEMA Approves Funds for Flood-Damaged Counties
Finally some good news for several counties in our area that spent much of April and May battling rising flood waters.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved funds for 15 additional counties affected by record flooding. That makes a total of 39 counties have met the "damage threshold" of $3.45 per capita.
"We had not seen these numbers. They surpassed the 1943 flood that was our historic marker," Cass County Emergency Services and Disaster Agency Director Roger Lauder said.
The flooding in Cass County cost more than $4 million. Flood-related expenses for state and local governments has topped $70 million.
"The county, the city, the drainage commissioners, all the entities of government here in the city. The public works department, the fire, police," Lauder said.
One million sandbags, 2,400 tons of sand-- the list goes on. Everyone and everything that prevented catastrophe.
"Sometimes when you don't see the houses floating and that sort of thing it's kind of looked as though nothing really happened. But there's a lot of money and time and effort that goes into preventing those things from happening," Lauder said.
Over in Morgan County they are looking at more than $540,000 in expenses.
"And that was only for about a two week portion of the event," Morgan County Emergency Services and Disaster Agency Director Bob Fitzsimmons said.
The Illinois River has now crested and continues to fall but officials say the aftermath is still being uncovered.
"Where you still have sand that infiltrates the system and the pumping, those are issues that have to be inspected that have impact upon all the residences. So those, you know, we still haven't even started the cleanup portion," Fitzsimmons said.
And even though the designation means the federal government will pay 75% of the expenses the other 25% will still have to come from the county. Officials say that will undoubtedly put other needs on hold.
"Let's face it there are going to be projects or things that you planned on doing through your normal budget routine that you're going to have to scale back on," Fitzsimmons said.