Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills Seek FEMA Aid for Blizzard Costs

Village governments should learn next week if DuPage County meets the criteria for federal assistance

The 2011 blizzard cost village governments in Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills nearly $70,000, according to figures the villages gathered for a possible federal aid request.

Hinsdale Village Manager David Cook said the village is hoping for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for $41,472 in expenses associated with the snowstorm that struck on Tuesday, Feb. 1.

The largest component of the village’s request is $17,282 for equipment use. Cook said that number is based upon allowable hourly rates established by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Another $2,666 was spent on equipment repairs, such as damage to snow blades.

The village spent $8,604 on rock salt during the storm and $2,296 on fuel. The village had to contract for the use of some dump trucks during the storm at a cost of $3,588.

The actual cost of the blizzard to the village is actually much greater than the aid request.

“We had to carve out our most expensive 48 hours,” Cook explained.

Cook said the village had to pay 314 hours in overtime to employees because of the blizzard, but is only able to seek reimbursement for 198 hours of that, covering the 48 hours from 3:30 p.m. Feb. 1 to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 3. Those 198 hours cost the village $7,034, which breaks down to an average of $35.52 per hour.

Cook said the village’s request will be combined with those of other government entities in DuPage County to see if it reaches the $2.9 million threshold required for a disaster declaration. He said that number is based on a per capita formula and much be reached “in order for anyone in the county to get assistance.”

He said county officials should inform the village early next week if the threshold had been reached.

“We’ll be anxious to see what everyone reports,” Cook said. “They felt optimistic they would be able to meet the number.”

Clarendon Hills spends $40,000

Community Development Director Michael Brown said the Village of Clarendon Hills is seeking just over $40,000 in reimbursement for its blizzard-related expenses.

Nearly half of the village’s request -- almost $13,000 -- will be for personnel and overtime costs. Brown said that figure includes 188 hours of overtime. Another $7,500 is being sought to cover the cost of using equipment.

Brown said roughly one-third of the village’s costs were for supplies.

The deadline for municipalities and other government agencies for filing their request for assistance to the DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) was Friday at 5 p.m.

“We’ll then compile the data and submit it to the state,” said HSEM Public Information Officer David Gervino.

Gervino said if the $2.9 million threshold is reached, the next step will be for Governor Pat Quinn to request a presidential disaster declaration for the counties affected by the blizzard.

Unlike the floods of last July and August which led to a disaster declaration enabling homeowners and other citizens to seek FEMA assistance, Gervino said this request will be only for “public assistance” to help reimburse municipalities, townships, schools, park districts, library districts, and the county itself “for snow removal and other blizzard-related expenses.”

“We didn’t receive a significant amount of damage to private businesses,” he noted.


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