Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Karla Pomeroy
Editor 

Federal disaster declaration aids government entities only

Citizens damaged by runoff flooding encouraged to attend Tuesday meeting

 

August 12, 2017



The disaster declaration by President Donald J. Trump offering federal assistance from recent flooding does not include individuals or corporations.

Washakie County Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Jeff Schweighart said he has been working with the Office of Homeland Security for assistance for snowmelt runoff that began in April.

“From April until June Washakie County was in alert status,” Schweighart said in an earlier interview, noting that the river crested at 11.66 feet in June, beating the previous recorded record of 10.92 feet in 2015.

On July 3, in conjunction with the City of Worland, Washakie County Commission Chairman Terry Wolf authorized an emergency declaration for Washakie County to enable the area to receive emergency funding from the state to repair and mitigate flood damage from April.

Also signed by Worland Mayor Jim Gill and Schweighart, the declaration states that “extensive damage has been caused to public and private property, disruption of utility service, and endangerment of health and safety of the residents of Washakie County within the disaster area, all locally available public and private resources available to mitigate and alleviate the effects of this disaster have been insufficient to meet the needs of the situation, the current conditions around the County and the City may continue to produce significant flooding with the possibility of continued rain, late season snow melt, along with progressive runoff could potentially present flood conditions to include mudslides and landslides in the County.”

“The damage estimates from our most recent runoff event were around $33,000 and the state authorized $30,000 so we qualified for relief,” explained Schweighart.

According to the White House press release issued Aug. 7, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Wyoming and ordered federal assistance to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by flooding from June 7 to June 22, 2017.

Federal funding is available to State, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the flooding in the counties of Fremont and Park and the Wind River Reservation within Fremont County.”

Schweighart said since he has been working with OHS, Washakie County can be added to the declaration at a meeting Tuesday.

He said his initial understanding was that private individuals and corporations could also be added but an email from Casi Crites of Wyoming OHS clarified, “The presidential declaration is for the Public Assistance program is for units of local government only, private individuals are not eligible for funding under the FEMA PA program.

Schweighart said he had seven individuals contact him regarding assistance.

“Unfortunately individuals and corporations do not qualify for this part of the Stafford Act. I will continue seeking disaster assistance. I’m trying to leave no stone unturned,” Schweighart said.

At the present time, only Washakie County and the city of Worland have submitted claims that would qualify under the program.

He said the meeting for the request for assistance is from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, at the Washakie County courthouse in the commissioners meeting room. He said Wyoming OHS Director Guy Cameron and representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be in attendance.

He encourages anyone that incurred damage during the runoff flood event in Washakie County to attend the meeting.

“It’s a public meeting. This is an opportunity for private citizens to ask FEMA of potential alternatives [for flood assistance],” Schweighart said.

The meeting is mandatory for the city and the county, he said.

Anyone with questions can contact Schweighart at 307-431-0346 or ema.ohs@washakiecounty.net.

 
 

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