Upper Arlington News

FEMA, Ohio EMA

City officials hope to recoup storm costs

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Upper Arlington officials are hopeful the city will recoup most of the $150,000 it spent on recovery efforts following this summer's windstorm.

Upper Arlington Fire Chief Jeff Young last week said he expects state and federal agencies will reimburse about 87.5 percent of the city's recovery costs stemming from a severe windstorm June 29.

Young said the city spent approximately $150,000 on the recovery efforts, much of which related to employee overtime to remove debris from public roadways and other rights of way, and to the use of generators to run traffic signals affected by the storm.

As a result of the storm, Upper Arlington and much of Ohio were ruled a disaster area by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which qualified the city to seek emergency assistance funds related to the post-storm cleanup.

Young said the city has applied for assistance from FEMA and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency and expects to receive the full reimbursements permitted by those organizations.

"At this point, the declarations of assistance have been completed," he said. "Now we submit the documentation of how we came up with our figures.

"There's no guarantee yet that all of the $150,000 will be approved, but it's what we expect and it's highly likely."

According to assistance guidelines, the city can recover 75 percent of its total costs related to the storm from FEMA and another 12.5 percent from the Ohio EMA.

The balance, approximately $18,750, would be incurred by the city.

"I believe it will be four to six months before we receive any funds or we receive confirmation of assistance, but as long as it's an allowable expense, we will receive it," Young said. "We feel very confident all of our submitted expenses will be approved as storm-related."

The city's expenses from the storm are entirely for employee costs and cleanup efforts on city streets and in public rights of way, Young said. None of the expenses, or state or federal assistance that might be awarded to the city, are related to damages to private property.

The June 29 storm resulted in power outages throughout the city.

Young said some portions of Upper Arlington had electricity restored within two days, but some traffic signals had to be powered by generators for up to five days.

While there wasn't significant damage to city buildings or other major infrastructure, Young said crews had to clear downed trees and tree limbs from numerous city streets and public rights of way.

"There was really no area that was not impacted," he said. "It really impacted fully 85 to 90 percent of the community."

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