FEMA funding unlikely following storms

TRAVERSE CITY — Grand Traverse area residents and businesses likely won’t receive federal aid as the region continues to recover from a violent thunderstorm.

Michigan State Police said the high number of property owners who possess insurance coverage in the area likely will disqualify the region from receiving individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Similarly, public agencies and nonprofits in the area did not appear to sustain enough damage to qualify for FEMA funding.

“As it stands right now, federal disaster assistance is not on the table,” said Ron Leix, a spokesman for the state police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division.

Severe thunderstorms on Aug. 2 ripped through the Grand Traverse region, knocked down trees, blocked roads and cut power for thousands of residents. Portions of Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties sustained some of the worst damage.

Officials from both counties in the wake of the storm declared local states of emergency. State officials then followed suit, opening the door for state resources — including contractors and equipment — to descend on the region and help with cleanup efforts.

Grand Traverse County Commissioner Alisa Kroupa on a social media post stated she asked U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan for FEMA assistance during an Aug. 21 community round table.

“As we face many more months of storm clean up and dwindling state resources, it was important to me to make sure that our congressional leadership understands our need for a FEMA assessment of this area,” she wrote.

State police documents suggest only Gov. Rick Snyder can ask FEMA officials to conduct a preliminary damage assessment. The results of that assessment are then reviewed by state officials before they decide “whether to request federal financial assistance.”

Neither Kroupa nor representatives of Peters’ office could be reached for comment.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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