Tuesday, March 13th, 2018
FREEHOLDERS AND SEN. BUCCO WANT FEMA TO INCLUDE BACK-TO-BACK STORMS AS ONE DISASTER IN CONSIDERING FEDERAL REIMBURSEMENT
The Morris County Office of Emergency Management has released the Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) estimates for damages and resource allocation associated with the recent, back-to-back Winter Storm Riley and Winter Storm Quinn, which slammed the county, causing extensive damage and power outages.
Based on the data received from municipalities, the current estimated costs total $1,920,090 for Winter Storm Riley and $3,785,774 for Winter Storm Quinn, for a total of $5.7 million, and counting.
The Morris County total takes into consideration all expenses associated with county and municipal government, inclusive of schools. It is expected to rise when costs come in from about several towns that have yet to submit estimates.
The PDA was submitted on Monday to the New Jersey State Police Office of Emergency Management’s Public Assistance Unit. The submitted estimates for each storm exceeds FEMA’s public assistance threshold for Morris County.
“Based on the numbers that have come in, Morris County has exceeded its county threshold to be eligible for federal public assistance,’’ said Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. “We now need the state to take the lead in seeking federal reimbursement to ensure that counties and towns that bore the brunt of Riley and Quinn are reimbursed.’’
However, the state must meet a threshold of $12.8 million in storm costs incurred by counties to be eligible to request FEMA Assistance, and that could require the back-to-back blasts to be counted as one by FEMA.
State Sen. Anthony Bucco said he has been in touch with Governor Murphy and the Governor’s Chief of Staff Peter Cammarano to request that the state seek federal aid for hard-hit-towns, and understood the Governor’s Office would likely combine the two storms in such a request.
“We experienced significant ground saturation and wind damage from Winter Storm Riley, causing many trees and electrical utilities to come down during Winter Storm Quinn,’’ said state Sen. Anthony Bucco.
“Our municipalities are unable to sustain the significant costs associated with these storms without assistance, and our taxpayers deserve nothing less than help to deal with this natural occurrence. We look forward to getting assistance for our local municipalities and schools.”
In declaring a State of Emergency in connection with Winter Storm Quinn, the Governor referred to the connections between both storms, and noted that Quinn compounded problems caused by the initial storm, Winter Storm Riley.