MARIETTA - Local government agencies are adrift in a squall of paperwork as they continue efforts to be reimbursed for expenses incurred after a derecho storm hit Washington County and surrounding areas June 29.
"They (the government) just don't ever seem to get enough paperwork," said Belpre Township Trustee Asa Boring.
The paper pushing is part of what Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Leo Skinner called the "project worksheet phase" of the agency's Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program.
Through the PA Grant Program, FEMA provides supplemental federal disaster grant assistance for projects including debris removal, emergency protective measures and the repair, replacement or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly-owned facilities.
During kick-off meetings, FEMA public assistance officers are meeting with local government agencies to review the money agencies spent in the storm's aftermath.
Each agency then has 60 days to identify the individual projects requiring federal reimbursement through FEMA's PA Grant Program.
At a Sept. 14 kick-off meeting, Boring received the FEMA forms Belpre Township will need to complete in order to receive a partial reimbursement of expenses.
Reimbursement for storm damage will be paid in pre-determined percentages-typically 75 percent from the federal budget and 12.5 percent from Ohio's state budget.
"(Townships) have to be good for the other 12.5 percent yourself," Boring said.
Belpre Township initially projected $48,000 in storm-related damages. That amount has been reduced because the federal government would not allow some expenses, Boring said.
Decatur Township hopes to recoup about $4,000 to cover storm-related expenditures.
"That was mostly for getting roads open for emergency personnel to get through," said Jim Irvin, Decatur Township trustee.
Decatur Township has also had its FEMA kick-off meeting and is in the process of completing the required applications.
Irvin said he has no idea when Decatur Township will receive the funds being requested.
Boring does not expect Belpre Township's federal and state checks to arrive until next year.
"When we had the 2003 and 2004 floods, it was probably three to four months before we got any reimbursement," he said. "(Federal and state governments) are very, very slow."
Skinner said if an agency has everything in order, it could take 60 to 90 days in order to work (an application) through the process.
Statewide there are 555 applicants for the PA Grant Program in 37 counties. In Washington County, there are approximately 30 applicants, said Tamara McBride, Ohio Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman.