Governor Rick Snyder has declared a state of emergency in Marquette County because of the large number of frozen and burst pipes caused by this winter’s bitter cold.
Marquette County declared a local state of emergency in February. It applied for a state disaster declaration in early March, but that application was denied. The county filed again two weeks ago, and the governor approved the new application this morning.
The Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division visited Marquette County earlier this week. “I think that meeting was basically the first clue we had that the governor and the folks in Lansing had seen enough to know that something had to be done beyond a county declaration,” Ishpeming public works superintendent Jon Kangas said.
Marquette County has experienced more than $1.6 million in damages this winter. Ishpeming has already spent its entire water system maintenance budget for the year. Republic has spent the equivalent of 10 years of its water maintenance budget.
“It’s very important here to the local communities who are very much in need of some financial help, so it was very good news,” Marquette County Board of Commissioners chairman Gerry Corkin said.
Now that the emergency has been declared at the state level, the state of Michigan will make all state resources available to help local response and recovery efforts. Corkin says the county may also be able to apply for federal disaster consideration as well.