PEORIA, Ill. -- State and federal disaster officials are providing a helping hand to eligible communities, state and local agencies and some private not-for-profit organizations following the severe winter storm that hit Illinois Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
President Bush's Dec. 29 emergency disaster declaration designated 26 counties that experienced record or near-record snowfall eligible for financial assistance for snow removal expenditures incurred during a continuous 48-hour period as selected by the applicant. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) are working together to ensure eligible applicants receive this assistance.
"This reimbursement of eligible expenses resulting from a storm of this magnitude is essential in helping cities, towns and municipalities be better prepared to meet the next storm," said FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer Michael H. Smith.
This process began when IEMA and FEMA Public Assistance representatives held four applicants' briefings for officials of governmental organizations and not-for-profit agencies throughout the designated counties to explain the procedures for requesting assistance.
"Those public officials who were unable to attend one of these briefings may call IEMA to submit their Requests for Public Assistance," said IEMA Director William C. Burke. The number to call in Springfield is (217) 782-8719.
The applicants' briefings resulted in nearly 500 RPAs from government entities and organizations so far. FEMA PA coordinators and project officers work in partnership with applicants, providing comprehensive information, explanations and technical assistance. They document expenses, determine eligible costs for reimbursement, and develop and review project worksheets.
Once approved, FEMA obligates funds via electronic transfer to the state who then disburses them to the applicants. Federal funds will pay 75 percent for eligible costs under this reimbursement program. Having the correct documentation to support each request helps speed up this process.
The declared counties for snow removal financial assistance are: Adams, Boone, Brown, Bureau, DeKalb, Fulton, Hancock, Henry, Kendall, Knox, La Salle, Lee, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, McHenry, Menard, Ogle, Peoria, Pike, Putnam, Scott, Stark, Stephenson, Tazewell and Winnebago.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.