Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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June 25, 2013

No federal flood aid for cities, counties

Local expenses don't meet the threshold for damage costs.

Local units of government will not be receiving any federal funds to help cover expenses from the April 19 record flooding in Kokomo and Tipton.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency notified officials in the cities of Kokomo and Tipton, as well as Howard and Tipton counties, there will be no money available to reimburse them for costs related to the flooding.

John Erickson, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, said Monday the state did not apply for FEMA funding because the costs incurred by local government units didn’t exceed the state threshold.

Erickson said the FEMA threshold for Indiana was $8 million in damages.

FEMA inspectors toured the state with Homeland Security representatives, he said.

“We didn’t apply,” Erickson said. “We knew the state would not meet the threshold. We didn’t want to delay any other aid that might be available.”

Government agencies in Howard and Tipton counties can apply for federal assistance through the Indiana Disaster Relief Fund, he said.

Erickson said the individual counties had to meet the FEMA thresholds to be eligible for state assistance.

“There is a formula that is used,” he said. “It’s a long, involved process. We want to help as many counties as possible.”

Tyler Moore, president of the Howard County Board of Commissioners, said he was surprised the county was not eligible for FEMA funds.

“We were confident that we would get some assistance,” he said. “We experienced a lot of damage in the county and city. I thought we reported enough damage to be eligible.”

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said it is the city's understanding that some state funding will be provided.

"The flood cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars," he said. "The state didn't meet the criteria for federal funds. All we could do is document the costs. It would have been helpful to receive some federal assistance."

Tipton Mayor Don Havens said he was surprised and disappointed no federal assistance was being provided.

“The city and county incurred extensive expenses,” he said. “If FEMA was going to choose to help one group, I prefer it be the homeowners.”

The city of Tipton spent more than $250,000 on the cleanup efforts.

“It comes out of our reserves,” Havens said of the expenditure. “We have substantial expenses.”

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