The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

July 9, 2013

Not much flood funding flowing this way

Staff Writer

ASHTABULA — A torrential rain that pounded the city June 27-28 caused extensive flooding in streets and basements.

Since that time, City Manager Jim Timonere and his staff have been working with local, state and federal emergency management agencies to see what funding, if any, could be available to help with the recovery effort.

As it turns out, not much.

“The damage is not significant or widespread enough to seek a federal declaration, leaving only the state disaster assistance programs to apply for,” he said. “There are two, one for individual homeowners, and the other for governments.”

The triggering threshold for the Individuals Assistance Program (IA) is 25-plus structures with 40 percent or more major- or destroyed-levels of damage. The types of damage in these levels include substantial damage to the home requiring more than 30 days to repair, roof elements such as trusses, decking or framing to be damaged or missing and/or complete failure of two or more structural components, to name a few.

“Though the Ohio EMA is sensitive to the inconvenience and potential financial burden of basement water back-up, it is not considered major damage,” Timonere said. “Therefore, based on the damage assessments done by the Ashtabula Fire Department on June 27 and 28, along with other information we’ve been able to collect, we do not have enough damage to homes to qualify.”

The city is still assessing damage to its infrastructure and the cost of debris removal to determine if it can qualify for the Public Assistance Program. The triggering threshold is one-half of 1 percent of the city’s operating budget; about $135,000, Timonere said.

The city will continue to collect debris from the flooding at the West 24th Street transfer station until Thursday. Residents who still have damaged material must be weighed at the station before dumping. Addresses will be collected and there is no charge for this if the  debris came from a home that experienced flooding, he said.

Call the city manager’s office at 440-992-7103 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for more information or questions.