SEMA explains steps for FEMA aid after winter storm - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Kennett, MO

SEMA explains steps for FEMA aid after winter storm

By Christy Hendricks

KENNETT, MO (KFVS) - Winter Storm '09 left the Heartland with a lot of damage and a massive price tag.

The Missouri Emegency Management agency estimates more than $200 million worth of damage in the 20 counties declared disasters last week by the president.

Kentucky estimates $180 million worth but state officials expect that number to increase.

Local officials met with state emergency officials Tuesday to find out what they need to do to get help from the federal government to pay that big bill.

"We're still a couple months away from even resembling a city again," said Roger Wheeler, mayor of Kennett. 

Wheeler was one of many local officials at a meeting by the state emergency management agency to explain the steps for federal reimbursement.

"All our park systems and everything has major damage. We're having to clean that from scratch," Wheeler said.

All the forms and papers translates to money to clean up debris. On every street of Kennett you see piles and piles of debris.  Mayor Wheeler says the money from the disaster declaration will help keep the city from going bankrupt while cleaning up.

"The initial combining the utilities with the cleanup they were just under $10 million for the city of Kennett," he said. 

That's a lot of money for a small town of 11,000 even with FEMA picking up 75-percent of the tab.

That's why leaders say it's so important for these towns, school districts, and non-profit organizations to document everything from putting down salt on the roads to overtime from workers.

"Small projects when they're obligated we will go ahead and cut a check for them for the share of the small project at that time," said Alan Prenger with SEMA. "Large projects we can't make reimbursement on until they send us the documentation, the invoices and the timesheets and things for those large projects and they can do that as they work."

SEMA will hold meetings in other hard hit communities this week to help city and county leaders find out how they can get help.

Wednesday, February 25, at 8:30 a.m.

  • New Madrid: Mill Street Community Building, 1199 Mill Street
  • Greeville: Wayne County Courthouse, 109 Walnut Street
  • Gainesville: Ozark County Ambulance Base, Old Highway 160 West

Thursday, February 26, at 8:30 a.m.

  • Sikeston: Clinton Building, 501 Campanella (at the Sports Complex)
  • Kimberling City: First Baptist Church, East Campus, 161 Heaven's Way

Friday, February 29, at 8:30 a.m.

  • Van Buren: Van Buren Community Center, Business Hwy. 60 and state Hwy. 5
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