County appeal for help with flood damage denied

Pictured is the flood impact on state Route 52 at Boat Run Creek, southeast of New Richmond, one of the county’s areas hardest hit by the mid-February rising of the Ohio River. Photo provided.

By Megan Alley
Sun Staff

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently denied Clermont County’s appeal for federal funding to help with its recovery efforts following the flooding and tornado incidents in mid-February.

This comes after the county was left off the original Presidential Public Assistance Declaration.

The Clermont County Emergency Management Agency, led by Pam Haverkos, received word on June 15 that FEMA had denied its appeal.

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency had submitted the appeal letter to FEMA on behalf of the county on May 18.

Then, on May 24, FEMA and Ohio EMA representatives reviewed the information and conducted site visits of the affected areas of the village of New Richmond as well as Franklin, Pierce and Washington Townships.

FEMA stated that it denied funding to the county because they felt that some of the damage was caused over time, and not solely from the February flooding event, Haverkos wrote in an email to county leaders.

Now, the county is working with Ohio EMA to submit a request to Governor John Kasich to open the State Disaster Relief Program, which gives a 75 percent reimbursement for eligible expenses, leaving local municipalities to pick up the remaining 25 percent.

“The State Disaster Relief Program is a bit different than the FEMA Public Assistance Program. Certain projects that FEMA had determined as ineligible will now be eligible. Under this program, Clermont County is projected to be eligible for $946,697.35,” Haverkos wrote.

Other differences laid out by Haverkos include:

– When it comes to “Debris Cleanup,” only overtime expenses are eligible; straight-time is not.

– Expenses categorized under “Parks, Recreational and Other” are not eligible.

– In-kind contributions are not eligible as a cost-match.

– All jurisdictions can follow their local procurement policies and will not be required to comply with federal procurement requirements.

Haverkos said that once the governor authorizes the State Disaster Relief Program, the Ohio EMA Recovery Branch will set up a meeting with all of the affected municipalities to review their requests.

“Each municipality will work directly with Ohio EMA for reimbursement,” she wrote, adding, “We will keep you informed as additional information is received.”

Reach Megan Alley at malley@clermontsun.com or via phone at 513-732-2511 ext. 111.