Waldo County unlikely to receive federal assistance in wake of 2013 ice storm

By Ben Holbrook | Feb 18, 2014

Waldo County's Emergency Management Agency Director said it is unlikely the county or state will receive the necessary disaster declaration to receive funding in the wake of the December 2013 ice storm.

Emergency Management Agency Director Dale Rowley said it was unlikely Waldo County and the state would receive the presidential disaster declaration that would have triggered federal assistance. Recently, he told county commissioners that about 80 percent of the residents in Waldo County were without power as a result of the ice storm that brought down trees and power lines just days before Christmas.

As a result of the extended power outages and damage caused by the storm, Rowley compiled a narrative of the impact of the storm in terms of employees who lost pay due to reduced hours, as well as whether homes and vehicles were damaged and the impact to local farms, as part of an application seeking federal assistance.

Rowley explained a public assistance declaration determination is based on how much damage is done to an area in terms of the total dollar amount.

Based on what he heard from people around the county, Rowley said he believed the area was one of the hardest hit in the state. He said he had heard a number of homes had sustained damage to the plumbing due to pipes freezing, and others have had the food in their refrigerators spoil.

During a January county commissioners court session, Rowley told commissioners Waldo County sustained about $560,000 worth of damage due to the ice storm, according to the damage reports submitted by 18 towns, which far exceeded the required amount to become eligible for federal assistance.

He noted to commissioners that the state also met its required damage threshold, according to the minutes from the meeting.

If Waldo County had received an individual assistance declaration, it would have allowed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to come into the area and begin providing help for those who were impacted. In addition, Rowley said other federal organizations such as the United States Department of Agriculture or the Small Business Administration would also be able to provide assistance.

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Ben Holbrook
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Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.

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