Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

July 2, 2013

Counties eligible for disaster funds

State money will help cover some flooding costs.

By Ken de la Bastide Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — Local units of government will receive funding from the State Disaster Relief Fund to help cover some of the costs resulting from flooding in April.

Gov. Mike Pence has opened the State Disaster Relief Fund to local governments in the 16 counties affected by severe weather and flooding that began April 17.

The counties are Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clinton, Fountain, Hendricks, Howard, Knox, Madison, Montgomery, Putnam, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Vermillion, Wabash and Warren counties.

Qualifying expenses include the replacement, repair and restoration of roads, sewer systems and other public property. Certain expenses associated with debris removal also are qualified.

The storms and flooding resulted in extensive damage and strained resources of local units of government, officials said.

Governmental units have 30 days to submit a claim with the state.

Randy Morris, controller for the city of Kokomo, said although this is good news and the city will apply for funding, the hope was for residents to have received more assistance.

Kokomo submitted $500,000 in claims to the Federal Emergency Management Agency following the flooding, but the state didn’t meet the threshold for federal assistance. Morris said the state relief is based on the amount of the claim, minus the city’s population and then divided by two.

“There is a different set of guidelines between the federal and state assistance,” Morris said. “We’re going to make every effort to get our expenses compensated.”

Morris said the state funding doesn’t include the cost burden for the city’s police and fire departments, but will include damage to Kokomo Beach, the Kokomo Senior Citizen’s Center and area parks.

Howard County Auditor Martha Lake said the county spent an estimated $925,000 related to the flooding, which included more than $700,000 in damage to legal drains.

She predicted Howard County could receive up to $200,000 in state reimbursement, which is determined by a formula that involves the county’s population.

“The governor is trying to provide as much relief as possible,” Lake said. “What the county receives will depend on whether or not the state accepts the damage done to the drains.”

Lake said the cost is being recalculated to include overtime and regular hours worked by county employees on flood relief.

Tyler Moore, president of the Howard County Board of Commissioners, said the county anticipated receiving some assistance from the state once it became clear funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency would not be available.

“This is absolutely good news,” he said. “I’m sure we will put the funds to good use.”

The city of Tipton spent approximately $400,000 as a result of the April flooding.

“We’re not sure how much we can recover from the state,” Mayor Don Havens said. “The state will come back and determine how much assistance the city will receive.

“We’re pleased to get some help,” he said. “I’m happy the taxing unit will receive some assistance, but disappointed we couldn’t garner more assistance for the individual property owners.”

The Indiana State Disaster Relief Fund was established in 2003 to provide assistance to individuals and local governments that may not be eligible for federal disaster assistance, but meet the state’s criteria for disaster relief.

Individual assistance from the State Disaster Relief Fund began immediately following the implementation of low interest federal disaster relief loans and is ongoing.

To date for the April flooding, there has been a total of $398,590 issued to Hoosiers for individual assistance. A total of $541,438 has been processed for payment.

Fees from retail fireworks sales provide the funding for the State Disaster Relief Fund.