Washington County included in Presidential request
Washington County has been included in a presidential disaster declaration request for weather-related damages from June 26 through July 7, according to a press release from Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.
The request was submitted to the president on July 29, said Washington County Emergency Management Coordinator Larry Smith.
“It typically takes two weeks to two months to get a presidential disaster declaration,” Smith said. “Maybe in the next two to four weeks we’ll have an answer.”
The request is for funding with the public assistance program, which is publicly owned items such as Washington County’s secondary roads and the City of Kalona’s wastewater system, Smith said.
The Washington County Supervisors approved a disaster declaration at their meeting last week, Smith said. This was one of the steps that needed to be done in order for the county to be included in the presidential disaster declaration request.
Another part of the process was surveying the damage from the flash flooding, which took place on July 16, Smith said.
“We had a representative from Region 7 of FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] with a representative from the Iowa Department of Homeland Security look at a couple of projects,” he said. “They looked at Kalona’s [wastewater] repairs and one or two of the projects for the secondary roads.”
Afterward, the FEMA representative went back to Kansas City and worked on an impact statement, Smith said.
“When they’re writing the impact statement they’re not just looking at the money,” he said. “They also look at how it affects transportation and the agricultural community.”
Now all the county and state can do is wait to hear back from the president.
“The president will look at the request,” Smith said. “He’ll either honor this request or deny it and it would be for all 22 counties. Typically, that’s how they’ve done it in the past.”
The other counties included in the presidential disaster declaration with Washington County were: Audubon, Black Hawk, Butler, Cedar, Des Moines, Grundy, Hamilton, Hardin, Ida, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Mahaska, Muscatine, Poweshiek, and Tama, according to the press release from the governor’s office.
If the president approves the disaster declaration, reimbursement would be given for the money used to repair some of the damage done to the secondary roads and to Kalona’s wastewater management system, Smith said.