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FEMA expanding Walworth County reimbursement for blizzard

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Kevin Hoffman
May 20, 2011
— The federal government will consider reimbursing Walworth County communities thousands of dollars more than expected after discovering February’s blizzard was worse than initially thought.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency notified the county Monday that municipalities qualify to receive aid for costs incurred over 72 hours—not just 48 hours— because snowfall from the blizzard broke the previous record by more than 50 percent. Some areas of the county received more than 2 feet of snow.


The storm began Jan. 31 and continued through Feb. 2. Gov. Scott Walker estimated costs statewide totaled $9.5 million.


Emergency management officials now can include additional costs of equipment, supplies and overtime paid to road crews. School districts also are eligible.


The initial cost estimate for Walworth County communities was $437,000, but that figure likely will increase now that municipalities are allowed to claim another day’s worth of expenses. The county was one of 10 in Wisconsin that qualified for assistance by reaching the expense threshold.


Rock County was reviewed by FEMA, but the county’s costs of $503,000 fell $23,000 short of eligibility.


FEMA continues to meet with officials across Walworth County, establishing more concrete estimates of their expenses. A final figure could be released within the next few weeks.


The federal agency can approve reimbursement for up to 75 percent of total eligible costs, which previously stood around $327,000. State and local governments are responsible for remaining expenses.


Other counties under FEMA review are Dane, Dodge, Grant, Iowa, Kenosha, Lafayette, Milwaukee, Racine and Washington.



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