County applies for disaster funds

LAKE COUNTY -- Lake County continues to look for assistance from the state in funding the recovery efforts resulting from the flood damage that occurred in July.

The Lake County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution requesting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer authorize a grant to the county from the State Disaster Contingency Fund at its meeting Dec. 11.

"The resolution and the application have been submitted," County Administrator Tobi Lake said. "The county has to apply for the disaster grant, but the requested $250,000 is all for the road commission."

Whitmer approved disaster assistance funding from the State Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund in October and opened the grant application period in November.

A letter from the deputy state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Capt. Emmitt McGowan, said the application period for funding under Section 19 of the Emergency Management Act is open to provide funds to Lake County for the extraordinary expenses incurred because of the heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding that occurred.

Section 19 provides reimbursement from the state for eligible disaster expenditures up to $1 million, based on population or 10% of the total operating budget of the previous year, the letter states.

The resolution approved by the BOC stated the county sustained "severe losses brought on by the rains," resulting in flooded roads and bridges and numerous residents suffering personal damage and loss of property.

As a direct result of the disaster, public damage and 'expenditures were extraordinary" and placed an "unreasonably great financial burden" on the county, it said.

Lake County emergency management director Patrick Maddox said in a news release in November that heavy rainfall and flooding impacted several roads and bridges due to washout and the total damage was estimated to be more than $3 million.

"The road commission currently has approximately $195,000 of eligible expenses already incurred," Lake said. "The remaining $55,000 will be spent to repair a road damaged by the flooding. That work will most likely happen in the spring."

According to Lake, once Whitmer approves the grant application, the county must then get approval of the receipts and documentation of expenditures from the Michigan State Police Department.

"The county will pay the road commission for their expenditures, then the state will reimburse the county," Lake said.

Grants can only be awarded in areas that have been previously declared an emergency by the Governor.

Whitmer declared a State of Emergency for Lake County in July, following a request from the Lake County BOC.