Note: This emergency declaration does not cover snow removal or repair costs for individuals or business owners .
CHICAGO, Ill. -- Twenty-eight more counties have been added to the snow emergency declaration issued by President Clinton last week. A total of 29 Michigan counties are now eligible for federal disaster assistance as a result of last month's severe snowstorm, federal and state disaster recovery officials announced today.
The counties now eligible to apply for emergency assistance include: Alcona, Allegan, Arenac, Barry, Berrien, Cass, Crawford, Ionia, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lenawee, Macomb, Marquette, Mecosta, Montmorency, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oakland, Oceana, Ogemaw, Osceola, Oscoda, Otsego, Ottawa, St. Joseph, Van Buren, Washtenaw and Wayne.
President Clinton approved the emergency declaration on January 27 following receipt of a request from the Governor's Office. At that time, only Wayne County was designated for federal assistance.
The Emergency Management Division of the Michigan State Police (MSP/EMD), which administers funding assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), made the request on behalf of the additional counties. FEMA officials made the designation to add the counties after reviewing additional information from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and other sources regarding "record" or "near record" snowfall for these areas.
"By helping these communities with their emergency costs, we are helping every taxpayer in the area," Lawrence L. Bailey, federal coordinating officer for FEMA, said. "However, this emergency declaration does not cover snow removal or repair costs expenses for individuals or business owners."
Under the presidential emergency disaster declaration, affected local governments and certain private non-profit organizations in these counties are eligible to apply for federal assistance to fund 75 percent of the approved costs, during a 48-hour period. The funds cover eligible costs for snow removal equipment operations, contract personnel and equipment, and overtime for permanent personnel. Related emergency protective measures such as sanding and salting, search and rescue, shelter operations, and police and fire departments' response may also be eligible for reimbursement.
State and federal officials both stressed the importance of communities' record keeping in this type of declaration where federal funds will reimburse specific local costs. "Having accurate, well-documented time records for equipment and personnel will speed up the reimbursement process," Captain Edward G. Buikema, the director of MSP/EMA, said.
MSP/EMA will contact county and local government officials in the coming week to provide information on the snow emergency assistance program. State and federal representatives will be available explain what costs are eligible, how to report equipment/personnel information, payment procedures, and answer any questions that officials may have concerning the assistance program.