FEMA issues reassurances

LOCAL Government municipalities and agencies have basically been assured they will receive reimbursement funds for clean up and other expenses because of the storms on June 29 which caused severe damage in parts of Belmont County.

According to information from the Belmont County Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will reimburse 75 percent of the funding while Ohio will reimburse 12.5 percent. The remaining 12.5 percent will come from local sources.

On Aug. 2, a preliminary damage assessment meeting was held at the Belmont County EMA and FEMA representatives met with local officials to discuss the damages., This was initiated after President Barack Obama, at the request of Gov. John Kasich considered declaring Ohio a public disaster area.

As a result of the claims, President Obama ordered federal assistance for the area.

On Aug. 30, officials from FEMA and Laura Adcock, State Public Assistance Officer in the Disaster Recovery Branch of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, held an applicants’ briefing.

Municipalities, township, the Belmont County Engineer’s Office and Belmont County 911 attended the meeting., They are among some of the agencies awaiting reimbursement after the storms’ intense winds and localized heavy rains caused uninsurable damages and much debris in various parts of Belmont County.

The meeting was the second one FEMA had in the county since the storm.

The Applicants’ meeting is one of a few steps taken after a peril occurs.

It was announced that money for damages and clean up will be available on a cost sharing basis for state and local governments and certain private non-profit organizations.

The Belmont County EMA said that whenever there is a presidential disaster declaration, money for mitigation is also made available.

The next step in the reimbursement process is referred to as “kick-off” meeting at which time FEMA representatives will meet one-on-one with those who have incurred damages.

Information needed includes updated damages and needs assessment forms or site estimate forms, breakdown of costs data detailing labor, equipment, material and contract costs by category and or site, budget impact, extent of insurance coverage, local map to reflect damaged facilities and special considerations such as historical, environmental and mitigation., Photos are optional.

Because briefings were not available in all counties, also in attendance at Thursday’s session in Belmont County were officials from Harrison County including the Harrison County EMA and the village of Cadiz.

Sam Ventura and other FEMA representatives went to Monroe County on Thursday. Belmont and Monroe are among 37 counties which may receive assistance. He said officials go to each place so that everyone gets the same information.