MAIN STREET CLOSED, IN BOTH DIRECTIONS, BETWEEN UNIVERSITY AND ELMWOOD
What's Illinois' Number?
Whether Illinois cities hit by the November tornado outbreak will get federal assistance comes down to one question: which number is right?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency last month denied the state's request for assistance because the initial damage estimate of the Nov. 17 tornado outbreak fell far below the $17.8 million threshold.
An appeal was sent in last week by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Gov. Pat Quinn's office, in which the updated damage total was $21.4 million.
However, FEMA's updated figure is just $7.5 million.
"From my selfish perspective, IEMA's right and FEMA's wrong," said Washington City Administrator Tim Gleason. "We've read the same FEMA doctrine that FEMA itself has. We feel that what we submitted in our Preliminary Damage Assessment was accurate, and was allowed."
He says FEMA is not including costs that will be incurred over the next few months, like repairs to roads and debris removal, in its damage estimate.
"I think IEMA understands that our estimate is a forecast, that we don't necessarily have receipts in hand at this point," Gleason said.
He says he's not encouraged by the wide gap between FEMA and IEMA's numbers, he is grateful for the work that state officials are doing through the appeal process.