Let-run costs not included in new FEMA requirements for frozen pipe aide

After dealing with millions of dollars in damages and extra costs due to frozen pipes this winter, Upper Peninsula counties now have to supply more information to FEMA for aide.

The U.P. has experienced $20 million in damages, including $7.2 million in Marquette County alone.
FEMA’s new requirements, through a virtual preliminary damage assessment, do not count the dollars lost through the gallons of water used during let-runs.

“What we’re arguing is those costs should be included because if we didn’t have those let-runs, those people that ran the let-runs, if we didn’t let them run their water, everything would have frozen and it would have been more damage that the county and those cities and townships would have experienced,” Marquette County Emergency Management Coordinator Teresa Schwalbach said.

“It’s very frustrating because you have to jump through so many hoops, and then if they change things in the middle of the event, it makes it harder (to get the information), and the townships and the cities get stressed and frustrated with us constantly asking for that information.”

U.P. politicians are having a meeting Wednesday with state officials to discuss how to make the process work more efficiently, and what information is needed to send to FEMA.

“They (the state and politicians) need to be an advocate and work with the U.P. to get this data to the feds, and hopefully FEMA will send in people that can meet with the local units of government, the city managers, and the public works directors so they can understand the charges that were reported,” Marquette County Board chairman Gerry Corkin said. “There seems to be a misunderstanding on a lot of the issues that they say aren’t eligible for reimbursement.”

The county has until 5 p.m. Wednesday to send in more data to the state.  There is no word on if or when FEMA will give the U.P. aide, or how much money the U.P. could receive.