FEMA assistance OK’d for county

COLUMBUS — Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday that FEMA has opened its public assistance program to the state and four counties — including Columbiana County — affected by the severe storms the last week of May.

“Responding to the Memorial Day storms cost local governments millions of dollars, straining local budgets,” DeWine said in a news release. “Today, FEMA has agreed to pick up some of those expenses, bringing some much needed budgetary relief. We are grateful for their assistance.”

In addition to Columbiana, the counties are Greene, Mercer, and Montgomery.

Local governments, state agencies, and certain private, non-profit organizations in the four counties are now eligible for federal funds for eligible storm-related response and recovery efforts, including debris removal, emergency protective measures, and damaged infrastructure.

The state’s preliminary damage assessment was about $18.1 million in eligible costs, of which two-thirds, or about $12 million, was debris removal.

Columbiana County reported $1.65 million in road damage from the heavy rains of May 27-29.

The majority of that damage, $1.09 million, was listed in St. Clair Township — $1.07 million of which was for the repair of a slip on Midland-Fredericktown Road.

Other areas reporting damage were: East Liverpool, $191,000; Liverpool Township, $88,000; Perry Township, $7,300; Elkrun Township, $8,399; Middleton Township, $7,500; and the county engineer’s office, $261,000 of which $250,000 is to repair a slip on Calcutta-Smith Ferry Road.

DeWine declared a state of emergency for three of these counties — Greene, Mercer and Montgomery — on May 28 after 21 tornadoes hit Ohio. He requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration on June 11, which was approved by President Trump on June 18.

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