Agencies to receive aid for damage

Qualifying county agencies may expect to receive 87 percent in reimbursements for costs they incurred responding after  a wind storm hit the county at the end of June.

Since initial aid applications were submitted for public, not-for-profit government agencies, Auglaize County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Troy Anderson said they have learned more details about the federal and state aid being made available to 37 counties in Ohio hit the hardest by severe storms and straight-line winds from June 29 to July 2. Other qualifying adjacent counties include Allen, Shelby, Van Wert, Logan and Hardin.

Seventy-five percent of the reimbursement is coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), while another 12 1/2 percent is being added to that from the state, Anderson said.

“It’s what we expected,” Anderson said. “It’s taken some work, we went out and did damage assessments.”    

He said the state can choose to provide no assistance, 12.5 percent or 25 percent, and that the 12.5 percent is better than nothing.

“At least we will get some money back,” Anderson said. “When you look at a normal budget, it’s hard to plan for a disaster and estimate what needs may be.

“Every year you know it’s going to happen, but you don’t know to what extent, how many different events there may be or what kind of weather events they may be,” he said. “They all take extra money and extra manpower and this helps account for those extras that may not have made it in the budget. It offers a little more comfort when you don’t know where you’ll pull the money from.”

The funding was made available only to government agencies, including police, fire, public utilities, cities, villages and townships. Nursing homes also qualified for aid.

Individual residents did not meet the required uninsured dollar loss of 25 homes or businesses to qualify for assistance out of the storm, although the Small Business Association (SBA) has opened up some funding for farmers experiencing agricultural damage, as well as assistance for other qualifying nonprofit organizations. SBA’s assistance would come through low-interest rate loans.

Anderson said such government agencies throughout the county have submitted more than $500,000 in qualifying damages, but he is expecting that total to climb to closer to $700,000 before the deadline. The county was required to meet a per capita level of $155,000 to qualify for any federal aid.

Final applications are due by Sept. 19. For those qualifying agencies that haven’t applied, Anderson offered his assistance. To date, approximately 10 agencies from across the county have applied for the assistance.

Since preliminary applications were submitted, Anderson said FEMA and the state both came in to review them and they held up.

He said some of the expenses the aid is to cover include overtime and backfill, debris removal, protective measures, search and rescue, equipment usage, mulching and chipping, and road and structure damage.

“Everything is consistent with damage you would expect from something like this,” Anderson said.

He said some of the larger damage costs came from the cities of Wapakoneta and St. Marys, as well as Auglaize County, which experienced a lot of loss at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds, but even townships experiencing between $400 to a couple thousand dollars in damage could be feeling a big hit based on their budget and population.