FEMA Denies State Appeal For Flood Assistance

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SPRINGFIELD----The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied Illinois' appeal for federal assistance to help local governments is many counties recovering from severe flooding and storms.

The storms hit in late December and early January.

The director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, James K. Joseph, says the denial shows that numbers only matter instead of the process taking into account multiple factors in determining aid. Joseph added that states with high populations concentrated in urban areas often struggle to reach their thresholds, particularly when the impacts are in rural areas of the state that have a small population.

Joseph said the poorest communities continue to suffer because the process in determining aid is unfair. Illinois' threshold for federal public assistance is $18.1 million, which is based on the state's population of $12.8 million multiplied by $1.41.

On April 8, the state submitted an appeal of FEMA’s earlier denial of assistance to help local governments recoup some of their flood-related expenses. The appeal outlined nearly $16.8 million in local government costs and spelled out additional factors that justify Illinois’ request for federal assistance for local governments in Alexander, Bureau, Calhoun, Cass, Clark, Cumberland, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, Menard, Monroe, Morgan, Moultrie, Pike, Randolph, St. Clair and Vermilion counties.

Joseph pointed to severe localized impacts that should have been considered, such as in Alexander County where local government expenses totaled more than $4 million. That equates to more than $486 for every person living in the county.

Under federal rules, the state cannot submit another appeal for federal assistance.

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