FEMA Denies Disaster Aid for a Second Time

Published 03/04 2014 10:31PM

Updated 03/05 2014 02:04AM

TAZEWELL COUNTY - A financial blow to Washington and other communities hit hard by November's tornadoes.

Tuesday night, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied Illinois Disaster Aid for a second time.

Municipalities in nine central and southern Illinois counties applied for federal aid to pay for things like debris cleanup and rebuilding infrastructure after November's deadly tornadoes.

The communities were denied funding in January and then appealed the denial

The latest FEMA denial was the answer to that appeal.

The city of Washington has already spent millions on clean-up efforts.

They estimate almost half of its property tax base is no longer available because of the storm.

The Illinois counties were denied, in part, because they didn't meet FEMA's damage threshold amount.

In a severe storm or natural disaster, communities in a state, like Illinois, with a large population have to prove a higher level of damage than communities in a state with a smaller population.

"We're going to figure out a way to do this, hopefully, with the Governor of Illinois coming in to possibly help us," said Washington Mayor Gary Manier. "I want our residents to know that we fought hard for this. We didn't take these things cautiously. We were very serious."

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is heading to Washington, Illinois Wednesday to make a statement on state help for disaster relief.
Late Tuesday night the Governor announced that 45 million dollars in state aid would be made available to the nine Illinois counties that were denied aid from FEMA. 
The governor released a statement saying, "We will not let this federal decision leave our citizens behind."

Meantime, U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) And Dick Durbin (D-IL) Are working to change the funding formula to make sure communities aren't denied assistance when they need it.

Senator Kirk says, "I'm disappointed FEMA, agai,n denied public assistance to the Illinois towns devastated by last November's tornadoes. I know these communities deserve federal funds. FEMA's methods and formulas for determining aid are clearly broken."

Durbin adds "FEMA has gotten it wrong in Illinois not once but twice. The federal government can't be expected to help after every weather event, but the damage i saw in central Illinois convinced me that we need to be doing more."

The Senators say they'll continue working with central Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock and the Illinois delegation to pass the reforms needed to bring communities aid they need to rebuild.

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