Wind storms aftermath costs tens of thousands

The cost of debris removal and emergency services in the aftermath of the Sept. 14 wind storm has added up to tens of thousands of dollars for some Madison County entities.

The County Engineer’s Office has reported preliminary figures of $40,000 to $50,000 in expenditures related to the hurricane-force winds caused by remnants of Hurricane Ike.

The Village of Plain City, including the government offices, police and fire departments, has reported $66,000 in costs. The Village of West Jefferson has turned in an initial figure of $18,000, a number that likely will increase to $40,000 to $50,000 once the police and fire costs are added, said Roger Roberts, director of the Madison County Emergency Management Agency (EMA). More figures from other parts of the county likely will be reported, as well, Roberts said.

Madison County was one of 29 counties to declare local states of emergency following the storm. Gov. Ted Strickland issued a state declaration of emergency on Sept. 15 and requested federal aid in a letter to President George W. Bush on Sept. 17.

Should Bush declare Ohio a disaster area, emergency service providers, non-profit entities such as schools, and town-ship, village, city and county governments will be eligible for federal reimbursement of 75 percent of the costs associated with responding to the storm, Roberts said. The county EMA is in charge of coordinating the reimbursement process.

Several Madison County entities re-ceived federal aid following the blizzard that hit Ohio in March. Eight townships, London City Schools, the Madison County Board of MR/DD, the Madison County Engineer’s Office, the Village of Mount Sterling and the Village of West Jefferson reported a combined total of $97,706 in costs associated with the blizzard, most of which was for snow removal. The 75-percent federal reimbursement amounted to a total of $68,973.

EMA’s response to storm

While the bulk of the EMA’s work related to the storm will come with facilitation of any federal reimburse-ments, the agency also was instrumental in helping residents immediately following the disaster.

“The EMA purchased drinking water—250 cases, each with six one-gallon containers. A lot of it ended up in the Range/Sedalia area, at the Spring Valley trailer park, and in South Solon where people were without power the longest,” Roberts said, adding that a pocket of residents on Free High Pike in the northern part of the county also received drinking water.

The EMA communicated with First Energy/Ohio Edison and served as a resource coordinator, informing residents on where they could get oxygen tanks filled and acquire generators. In one case, the agency provided a generator for a terminally ill patient.

“We also passed out information on things like how to flush your toilets and what food to discard when you experience a power outage,” Roberts said, adding that the EMA worked with the Madison County Health District to get the word out.

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