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Wisconsin preparing data to apply for FEMA disaster dollars after excessive cold winter


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- Wisconsin emergency management officials are going to try to get Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) dollars to help cover certain cold winter expenses.

Marathon County Emergency Management Director Steve Hagman says Madison officials approached every county, requesting cost figures for repairing infrastructure and excessive staff costs.  “In April, all 72 counties in the state were requested by the state to collect some preliminary information about the amount of damage they had to their public infrastructure. Those dollar amounts were sent to the state, and the state got that information and reviewed it, and talked a little bit to FEMA Region Five (in Chicago).”

Hagman says they all know the odds of receiving federal emergency management dollars are not good, but the statewide cost has been significant, and state emergency management officials are going to try and get the financial aid.  “The last time a cold weather Presidential declaration was done for cold weather was in 1994 for the State of Michigan, and I was told that its only happened three times in the history of the United States, so it is very rare that the federal government will step in for cold weather damage.”

If the federal government does approve the disaster aid dollars, Hagman says it could potentially pay up to 75% of the repairs and specific staff costs.  “It will go in to assist the communities in repairing those water mains that broke, it would offset the cost for plowing operations, and then overtime costs for employees of the water delivery system.”

Marathon County is gathering more information for the state. The timeline for the state to file their formal request to the District 5 FEMA office has not been determined.

(Listen to our interview with Steve Hagman on our website, here.)