After The Deluge: McLean County Sets Disaster Declaration
McLean County Board Chair John McIntyre has issued a declaration of local disaster following last weekend’s storms that caused substantial flooding and other damage to homes, businesses and roads.
McIntyre said the declaration is the first step in the process of seeking emergency relief through a state or federal emergency declaration.
“We would hope there would be some special funds that (would be) set aside by the state of Illinois, but we are still in the early stages of this,” McIntyre said. “(We) definitely wanted to put in place something that would make it possible in case there was any kind of funding available.”
State Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, said based on Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) guidelines, he believes the county will need to show close to $20 million in uninsured damages to homes, businesses and other property to qualify for state relief.
Brady said his office has heard from about 100 constituents seeking help for their property damage, adding he understands the frustration from residents who didn’t have sufficient insurance for what’s been called a 100-year rain storm.
“What can the state do or the federal government? To have high thresholds that trigger certain things adds to their frustration, which I certainly understand and am sympathetic to,” Brady said.
IEMA spokesperson Rebecca Clark said the agency has a team working with local jurisdictions to help with state resources or assistance. Clark said for the state of Illinois to qualify for FEMA's public assistance program, the state would have to incur more than $19.8 million in damages and McLean County would have to reach a per-capita damage threshold of close to $660,000.
"Both state and county thresholds must be met in order to qualify for this assistance," Clark said in an email.
McIntyre said the county is still compiling a damage assessment. He suggested anyone who has uninsured damage to report it to the McLean County Emergency Management Agency to be included in the report.
The City of Bloomington reports public works crews also continue to assess damage and clean up mud and debris. According to a news release, the city took more than 600 calls for service from Friday evening through Saturday evening; about half of those calls were for police.
"The total number of calls is almost triple the normal average number of calls for service in the month of June," noted city spokesperson Katherine Murphy.
McIntyre said county government experienced flooding at two of its facilities: in the basement of the Law and Justice Center and at McLean County Animal Control south of Bloomington.
McIntyre said the local declaration lasts for seven days. McIntyre said should the county need additional time to prepare a damage assessment, he would bring the measure to the full county board for approval.
Some parts of McLean County saw as much as 10 inches of rain over a three-day period last weekend, overworking sump pumps and flooding basements.
Thunderstorms, strong winds and golf ball-sized hail also caused damaged throughout the county, including parts of Interstate 55 between McLean and Shirley.