FEMA denies public tornado assistance, state to appeal

Jan 9, 2014

Residents learn about recovery efforts at a public meeting in Pekin on Tuesday, December 17th.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied Illinois federal public assistance for communities hit by last November's tornadoes.  Local and state communities say FEMA dollars would help pay for debris removal and other publicly funded clean-up efforts. The state plans to appeal the decision. Jonathon Monken is the director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. He says an appeal gives the state and local communities another chance to calculate damage costs:

 “It’s not just about well this number is there, this number is not.  There’s a lot more to it than that.  The second and third order impacts to communities need to be considered when we’re talking about whether a community needs federal assistance.”

 FEMA says the state was more than 11-million-dollars short of a threshold to qualify for public assistance.  Monken says new damage assessments can better reflect costs incurred by cities like Washington.  The Central Illinois town saw more than 1,000 homes damaged in the tornado and lost a significant amount of its property tax base.  The state has 30 days to submit an appeal.