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County won’t receive aid from government for storm costs

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Johnson County governments and nonprofit agencies spent more than $500,000 cleaning up after a January snowstorm, but the federal government won’t be reimbursing Indiana counties for those expenses.

Johnson County was one of 49 counties in the state that qualified for disaster aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency because of how much local governments spent in overtime, for materials, such as salt, and on equipment use. The snowstorm on Jan. 5 dumped about a foot of snow in parts of the county, and local street and highway crews spent several days plowing roads and putting down salt to melt ice left on roadways.

The federal government reviewed the request from the state and decided not to provide any funds. State officials are requesting more information about why the request was denied and plan to appeal, said John Erickson, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

Indiana needs to show about $9 million in expenses to qualify for federal aid and sent in about $14.5 million in claims from counties, Erickson said.

Counties need to have $3.50 in expenses per resident, which is about $500,000 in Johnson County. Local groups including the county, cities and towns, schools, libraries and not-for-profit groups, such as Johnson County REMC, reported a total of $536,000 in costs.

If the federal government does provide the aid, local governments would be reimbursed 75 percent of those expenses. For example, Greenwood, which spent the most cleaning up the snowstorm, would get about $85,500 back.

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