FEMA Denies Illinois Counties Aid After Tornadoes
By Sean Powers, with additional reporting from Illinois Public Radio
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it has denied a request for disaster aid following the November tornados in Illinois.
The decision affects nine counties, including Tazewell, Champaign, Douglas, and Vermilion.
There are two kinds of assistance that FEMA administers after a disaster. One is individual, where a homeowner can get help with repairs and rebuilding, among other things. That’s been approved.
The other kind of assistance is public, which involves local governments that have damaged property or infrastructure and are saddled with the cost of paying first responders overtime. It is that assistance that was denied. Following an assessment, FEMA calculated that it could cover roughly $6 million of that damage in the nine-county area. That fell short of a roughly $18 million threshold.
Illinois Emergency Management Director Jonathon Monken said the state has 30 days to appeal the decision.
“No matter how confident we feel, we’re always prepared for this eventuality,” Monken said. “So, now it comes now to focusing our time and efforts on making the best case we can in the appeal.”
Dawn Cook directs the Tazewell County Emergency Management Agency. She said an appeal will help local authorities get a better handle on damage-estimates.
“We need to take really a harder second-look at to make sure that the costs that we had actually supplied were correct,” Cook said. “So I think that we’ll provide some numbers that are a little more accurate.”
So far, more than $10 million in federal aid has been approved to help people and businesses affected by the November tornados.