Blunt requests $28.4 million in federal disaster assistance

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 | 4:15 p.m. CST; updated 12:01 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — Two weeks after ice and snow knocked out power and damaged property in more than 40 Missouri counties, Gov. Matt Blunt is asking for $28.4 million in federal disaster assistance to help repair the damages.

That request includes more than $800,000 for Boone County.

Blunt sent the request for assistance on Dec. 20 to President Bush, who has to sign-off on the request. Blunt toured seven devastated areas to assess the extent of the damage, according to a news release from his office.

“I am asking the president for federal assistance to help the many Missourians who spent long days and nights without power battling ice, sleet, snow, heavy rain, flooding and frigid temperatures,” Blunt said in the release.

Boone County’s preliminary estimated portion of the dollar amount is $801,921.00, said Jim McNabb, the county’s joint communications and emergency director. That figure is roughly 3 percent of the total amount requested for 42 counties.

If approved, the federal government will provide 75 percent of the money, with the remaining 25 percent to be provided by state and local governments.

Four deaths have been blamed on the storm and about 170,000 families statewide were without power, the release said. The request for federal dollars asks for money to pay for using equipment and snow plows, overtime labor and debris removal.

“We are looking at the totality of this thing,” McNabb said. “It wasn’t devastating countywide. The storm was very strange and unusual because it was almost tornado-like in effect.”

McNabb said the vast majority of the damage and power outages took place in southern Boone County, particularly in rural areas and near Hartsburg and Ashland; Columbia was relatively unscathed.

“The big issue for the next couple of weeks is debris removal,” McNabb said.

He emphasized that the funds Blunt has requested are strictly public assistance.

“It’s not free money ...,” McNabb said. “The only items eligible to be replaced by that money is noninsured costs, including amounts up to their deductible, since it’s not covered by insurance.”

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