WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Western IL Readies for Federal Disaster Declaration

Apr 26, 2013

As a result of heavy rains and flooding, much of west-central Illinois has been declared a state disaster area and a federal disaster declaration could follow.

Macomb Mayor Mike Inman said there is a significant difference between the two. He said a state disaster designation provides access to state resources but not funding, while a federal declaration would clear the way for financial help.

Flooded house in Macomb near Wigwam Hallow road.
Credit Scott Stuntz

Inman said he’s been in contact with Congressman Aaron Schock, who is advocating for a federal declaration.

"We stand a good chance of being declared a federal disaster area. Now there is no guarantee with that and ultimately that's not my decision. That is a decision that will be made by folks in Washington," Inman said.

The mayor says there are a couple scenarios with a federal designation. It’s possible the money could be limited to paying for repairs to public infrastructure only or it could be made available for public and private assistance.

Furthermore, the private assistance could possibly be limited to those who directly hit by floodwaters or could be extended to those who received damage from rising groundwater.

The Mayor said he has spoken with McDonough County Emergency Service and Disaster Agency Director Dan Kreps to formulate a plan to collect the information from citizens that would be required to distribute private assistance.

Inman said the city would use the money, in part, to repair a crack to one of its underground drinking water storage tanks.

He added that the city is discussing applying for an emergency state grant to pay for the "clearwell" in case the federal declaration doesn't come through.