Superior, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) - President Obama has officially declared three counties and one tribe a disaster area in the state of Wisconsin, and with that, comes the promise of Federal aid for public infrastructure.
Douglas, Ashland, and Bayfield counties, along with the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, have all been declared disaster areas by President Obama's office.
In order to meet that threshold, there had to be a total of, at least, 7.7 million dollars in damage to the public infrastructure.
When each county was totaled, according to officials, there was over 8.6 million dollars in damage.
Now, FEMA will be meeting with the various communities within the counties to prioritize the damage, and set parameters for what,exactly, is eligible.
According to District 7 State Representative, Nick Milroy, not only will this aid benefit the UWS campus and other public institutions that suffered damage, but it will also go toward the repair of numerous roads, bridges, and culverts that were damaged, as well.
"...whether they're owned by the state, counties, or local municipalities, there will be funding available through FEMA, up to 75%, to help fix that infrastructure," said Milroy.
Otherwise, said Milroy, the public would have had to front the bill through tax increases--something that tax levy limits would have hindered, as many affected communities have a cap on how high their taxes could be raised to aid in the recovery.
"But, regardless of that levy limit, people just can't afford to have their taxes skyrocket just to pay for a natural disaster, and it really shows the importance of what the government is all about," said Milroy.
This declaration does not mean that Wisconsin will be receiving federal aid on an individual level.
According to Milroy, however, the Federal Small Business Administration's low–interest loans could be the best option for individuals seeking relief for damage on their personal properties.