Gov. Scott Walker Announces FEMA Declaration

By KBJR News 1

August 3, 2012 Updated Aug 3, 2012 at 1:37 AM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northlands' Newscenter)--Federal Help is on the way to flood–ravaged portions of Northwestern Wisconsin.

Governor Scott Walker announced today FEMA has granted a major disaster declaration.

That means local governments will now be able to apply for financial assistance it will allow communities to recover from some of the flood damage.

Governor Walker requested the declaration for Ashland, Bayfield and Douglas Counties as well as the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

Northwestern Wisconsin received between eight and 10 inches of rain which caused severe damage to homes, businesses and roads.
Under the program, FEMA provides 75 percent of eligible costs for repairs to public infrastructure.

The state and local agencies will share 12 and a half percent of the costs.

"A declaration is absolutely wonderful. It's the support that is going to give out local communities and small townships to help the rebuild their infrastructure. It's going to be fantastic. It's probably the best news that the three counties have had in quite a while concerning this storm damage," Keith Kesler, Executive Director for Douglas County Emergency Management, said.

In July, FEMA officials along with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and Wisconsin Emergency Management carried out damage assessments.

They were joined by local officials from the communities that were hit the hardest.

Together they verified that public infrastructure incurred more than eight point six million dollars in total damage costs.

FEMA was prompted to assess the damage after the University of Wisconsin Superior sustained damage to 14 buildings and the local power plant.

Kesler says local governments should expect financial assistance quite fast.

He says FEMA will hold briefing in the next few days to discuss the parameters of the declaration.

From there FEMA officials will be meeting with individuals to determine what exactly the funding level will be.

Written and posted by Justin Reis, NNC. jreis@northlandsnewscenter.com