Kansas cities, counties request FEMA funds

Local

DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Last week, the president signed a disaster declaration to free up federal aid for Kansas counties that had a lot of damage from last month’s ice storm.

Now, those counties are requesting funds from FEMA.

The storm devastated southwest Kansas, and the recovery is ongoing.

“This area had been designated as a disaster area by FEMA,” said Paul Lewis with the Dodge City Department of Parks and Recreation, “and so we’re now eligible for some assistance from them to help with the cleanup.”

Ford is one of 18 counties eligible to receive disaster relief funds. Those funds would cover 75 percent of approved cleanup and recovery efforts, saving taxpayers big money.

“City employees, city staff has spent a significant amount of time dealing with this debris cleanup over the last month, month and a half, and so without the FEMA assistance, that would all be on the local taxpayer,” said Lewis.

The city estimates 75,000 cubic yards of tree branches fell. Piles still remain on curb sides.

The city is looking for bids from private companies to help clean up the mess.

“We might bid for tree trimming for somebody to come in and remove those dangerous hangers,” said Lewis, referring to dangling tree limbs that have yet to fall. “That’s probably the number one thing out there that needs to be addressed.”

Dodge City is still in the process of requesting funds and city officials aren’t sure when they’ll be approved.

After a preliminary damage estimate, the city is requesting about $640,000 from FEMA. Dodge would cover a fourth of those costs.

“If we had to pay 100 percent of that,” said Lewis, “it’s going to have a huge impact on maybe our capital improvement program or some project funds.”

Victory Electric is also requesting FEMA funds. The power company says it had about $2.8 million worth of damage to its lines.

Meanwhile, Ford County is requesting about $100,000.

FEMA would cover 75 percent of those requested costs.

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