MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers has submitted a request for a federal disaster declaration for three southeastern Wisconsin counties damaged by severe winter storms that occurred Jan. 10-12. The request, made in a letter Monday to President Donald Trump, could make Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties eligible for federal disaster assistance to repair damage to public infrastructure along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
“Large waves and shoreline flooding across southeastern Wisconsin badly damaged infrastructure that helps protect communities and enhances the valuable natural resource that is Lake Michigan,” Gov. Evers said. “Federal disaster assistance would help ensure those areas can be repaired quickly and restored to what they looked like before the storms.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) completed a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) in all three counties last week, verifying about $10 million in damages where repairs would be eligible for federal reimbursement.
Initial reports estimated about $30 million in damage was done to public infrastructure in the three affected counties. However, the PDA identified several areas that did not meet the threshold to qualify for possible federal assistance. As a result, those costs must be removed from any request for a federal declaration.
“While many of the affected communities suffered more damage to public infrastructure than would be eligible for federal assistance, any aid the federal government can provide will help with the recovery process,” said Dr. Darrell L. Williams, WEM administrator.
If approved, FEMA’s Public Assistance Program would help communities recover some of the eligible costs incurred including public infrastructure repair and debris cleanup from the storms. FEMA provides 75 percent of eligible costs. The state of Wisconsin and local communities impacted share the remaining 25 percent.
The program is not for businesses or homeowners as the level of damage in these areas, unfortunately, does not currently meet requirements for federal disaster relief. Residents and businesses that may have been impacted should check with their municipal, county and tribal government or emergency management offices for information on possible resources that may be available.