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Illinois counties request state funding after spring floods

July 27, 2019

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Illinois counties are evaluating the costs and requesting millions of dollars in federal aid after months of continuous flooding in the state’s southern towns along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers.

July 18 was the deadline for counties across Illinois to request Public Assistance Reimbursement.

Madison, St. Clair and Monroe counties have collectively asked for roughly $33 million in assistance, and officials said the amount is likely to increase, the Belleville News-Democrat reported.

“We knew the costs would be high due to the length of the flooding, but never imagined it would be this high,” Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler said.

The flood was the second-worst on record in the towns of Alton and Grafton beside the Mississippi.

Madison County assessed a total roughly $24.8 million in damages and expenses, which surpassed the statewide minimum of $19.2 million enforced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“Our communities worked tirelessly to ensure public safety and to protect the residents and businesses of the county,” Prenzler said.

St. Clair County officials said they’ve already appraised approximately $8.1 million.

“We’re keeping track of everything we’ve done,” Herb Simmons, emergency management agency director of St. Clair County, told the newspaper in June. “Everything from the cost of sand, the labor to fill the sandbags, fuel for the pumps that has been used, any type of equipment that would have to be rented.”

Monroe County, where areas such as Valmeyer were threatened by flooding, is requesting for more than $850,000 in support.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker will be able to request FEMA’s help in repaying state and local agencies, and also individuals, after the damage expenses of all counties are collected and assessed.

President Donald Trump would decide whether to grant the request on the recommendation of FEMA.

But assistance is not certain. In 2015, Illinois didn’t receive any federal aid after requesting $15 million in relief following a period of flooding.

“All of those communities could have used help back then, (and) it’s sad they didn’t get it,” Simmons said.

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Information from: Belleville News-Democrat, http://www.bnd.com

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