McPherson County just barely exceeded the minimum threshold required to file a disaster resolution and receive disaster funds for the February snow storms.
The resolution ensures the county will receive a portion of federal funding, courtesy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for the snowstorms that occurred between February 20 and 22.
The threshold required at least a claimed total of $100,671. According to final figures provided by Dillard Webster, McPherson County director of emergency management, the county claimed $104,046.
Webster said the challenge was convincing the Kansas Department of Transportation to give a bigger share of claimed dollars to the county over the state. Normally, Webster said, KDOT will use its equipment on highway roads and claim the work for the state’s own disaster resolution. In this case, KDOT is allowing a larger portion of the dollars that can be claimed to be placed in McPherson County’s disaster resolution.
Cities, townships and school districts across the county also needed to work through three extra steps to fulfill new FEMA requirements.
Webster said the county would previously file disaster hours worked by the county’s part-time workers as overtime. FEMA changed those requirements, saying only workers who work more than eight hours in one day could qualify in the application as overtime workers. Webster said the change cost the county in total dollars that can be claimed and put the resolution at risk of not meeting the threshold.
Those who applied needed to file a new application, adjust overtime hours and list what person used what vehicle on what day.
The county now awaits the state of Kansas to file its own disaster resolution with the federal government. If approved and signed, the federal government will pay 85 percent of the costs claimed by the local governments as a result of the disaster. The local governing bodies are responsible to pay for their own remaining cost associated with the storms.
Webster said he hopes FEMA signs the resolution into effect.
“We’ve had a lot of people work very hard on this,” he said. “We’re very fortunate that we reached the threshold.”
County commissioners approved the resolution for signature Tuesday morning.
In other business:
• Commissioners approved the purchase of Firestone truck tires for McPherson County Public Works. The tires will cost roughly $80 per tire.