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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • FEMA changes may mean no disaster funds for Mac

  • McPherson County may not be able to claim federal disaster dollars for the February snow storm due to changes in the federal requirements.
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  • McPherson County may not be able to claim federal disaster dollars for the February snow storm due to changes in the federal requirements.
    Normally after a natural disaster, McPherson County Emergency Management would file a preliminary damage assessment, which estimates the necessary costs to fix any damages.
    If those costs reach a certain threshold, the county qualifies for federal funding, via declaring a state of disaster.
    However, due to some recent changes in requirements made by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the county may not be able to receive federal funding for the snowstorm that hit in late February.
    Dillard Webster, McPherson County Emergency Management director, said during a county commission meeting Wednesday many of the workers who help to clear snow across the county are part-time workers. Previously, the county would label the hours of the workers as overtime hours during a natural disaster.
    Webster said FEMA changed the requirements for disaster fund approval during the middle of the county's application process. FEMA no longer allows those part-time workers to qualify emergency hours as overtime. Only workers who work more than eight hours on a single day can qualify for overtime. FEMA also requires information on what individuals work what vehicles on what days, and how many hours are spent operating those vehicles.
    The threshold the county needs to meet is $100,671. According to Webster, the county currently has a damage cost of about $101,332. The changes in application requirements, he said, already have cost the county $4,677 that would have otherwise been met by federal funding.
    Webster said there are three more townships that are still having costs calculated, and the county still needs to estimate any extra losses in labor changes from those townships.
    "If we lose any more, we won't be in a state of disaster declaration," Webster said.
    Webster said the county will continue to monitor local disaster dollars that qualify for state declaration.
    "If there is any chance of meeting our threshold throughout the process, we will pursue the opportunity," he said.
    Commissioners said they would consider approving the resolution if the disaster threshold is met.
    In other business:
    • Commissioners approved a special-use permit for the construction of a dog kennel and training facility near southeastern Lindsborg, across the street from the Lindsborg Golf Course. The kennel can be built provided the owner, Jeff Patrick, can negotiate to acquire more land and satisfy a regulation that states the kennel must be at least 300 feet from adjoining property lines. Patrick is part of a trust with family members for the surrounding property.
    • Commissioners approved a request by Little Valley Township for the construction of a storage facility for machinery, equipment and materials. The building will be near Chisholm Road and Fourth Avenue.
    Page 2 of 2 - • Commissioners approved a request by Michael and Arlene Daniel for the construction of a multi-use garden center and nursery facility. The center will be at 799 Old Highway 81 and will have a conference room for weddings, anniversaries and other social gatherings.
    • Commissioners approved a zoning amendment request and a special-use permit for the National Cooperative Refining Association, which reclassifies a zone southwest of the refinery from an A-2 agriculture district to an M-2 heavy industrial district and allows the operation of a rail spur on the property. The area will be used primarily for railcar storage.
    • Commissioners signed an agreement for a $14,784 trust fund heritage grant for repairs to the Old Mill Museum.
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