MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle announced today that federal disaster funds have been made available for eight Wisconsin counties to supplement emergency response efforts to a major winter storm that hit the state in early February. The eligible counties named in the snow emergency declaration are Dane, Dodge, Green, Jefferson, Milwaukee, Rock, Walworth, and Washington Counties. The declaration covers jurisdictions that were blanketed with record and near-record snowfall February 5-6, 2008.
“This winter has been tough for Wisconsin, and has strained many crews who have worked long days and nights to keep the roads clear and safe,” Governor Doyle said. “The storm that hit Wisconsin in early February was among our worst, and it really hit many local budgets hard. I am pleased we have secured federal assistance to help provide relief to our local governments that have incurred much of these costs.”
Under the declaration, eight counties are eligible for federal funding to pay part of the cost for emergency protective measures undertaken as a result of the storm. This includes state and local government operations needed to protect public health and safety and to prevent damage to public or private property. It also includes snow plow and road salting efforts. This assistance is only for local and state agencies, not for individuals or private businesses.
To receive federal emergency snow assistance, a location must have received a record or near record snowfall within a 48 hour period. Under the emergency declaration, FEMA will provide reimbursement to local and state agencies for 75% of the total eligible costs, the state of Wisconsin will cover 12.5%, and the remaining 12.5% is the applicant’s share.
The disaster aid will cover equipment usage, contracts, and personnel overtime related to emergency services in dealing with the snow for a 48-hour period. These are the crucial hours when work crews clear snow from emergency routes and roads to critical facilities to permit the passage of emergency vehicles. Related emergency protective measures such as sanding and salting, search and rescue, shelter operations, and police and fire department response will also be eligible for reimbursement.
In his original request, Governor Doyle had asked that a total of 13 southern Wisconsin counties be declared under the federal snow emergency. The Governor will ask FEMA to re-evaluate that decision and request adding on those counties not included in the declaration. Those counties were Kenosha, Lafayette, Ozaukee, Racine, and Waukesha.
Wisconsin Emergency Management will work with FEMA in implementing the declaration. Local communities will be contacted by their county emergency management office for further information.