Covering winter’s costs

Counties across Kentucky are tallying up their winter storm costs in hopes of aid. One week ago, we were dealing with more than 10 inches of snow in many parts of our area.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear declared a state of emergency last Monday, which allows the state to apply for FEMA aid if damages are more than $6.1 million.

Caldwell County and the City of Princeton are adding up their damage costs.

Caldwell County declared a state of emergency last Monday night so they’d be eligible for aid money. Judge Executive Ellen Dunning said in order for them to get FEMA help their costs from last week have to be at least $46,000.

“I think we will probably meet our threshold with no problems,” Dunning said.

Dunning’s working with Princeton’s Mayor Danny Beavers to get all the funding they can.

“We are trying really hard to work together and help everybody,” Beavers said.

Most of the costs come from overtime. Road crews spent long hours clearing off ice and snow.

“You try to anticipate a little bit of overtime for all your departments, but when you have 12 inches of snow all in one day it’s hard to budget for that much,” Beavers said

Mayor Beavers said the city spent money on extra salt and now has to pay to repair their flooded police station. They also need help covering overtime and equipment repair.

“We’ll have to find the money. We may have to cut some things, but we’ll find the money to make ends meet,” Beavers said.

The county is seeing most of their costs in hiring extra contractors to clear roads, in building repairs, and overtime.

“It wasn’t just a snow event, it was all the ensuing weather that followed that,” Dunning said.

Dunning and Beavers are tallying all the costs from this winter storm and submitting them to the Kentucky Emergency Management Recovery Branch in Frankfort by Thursday, when they’re due.

Statewide damage needs to total at least $6.1 million to qualify for help from FEMA. Kentucky Emergency Management Assistant Director Stephanie Robey said that it’s very possible the state has spent this much in damages. Once FEMA verifies those damages, the president has to issue a disaster declaration that then allows counties to ask for aid from FEMA.

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