The Village of Forest Park is calling on Gov. Pat Quinn to appeal a decision that denied the village federal disaster aid, which would have helped cover the roughly $100,000 tab incurred after the devastating floods in July.
In order to qualify for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a county must rack up at least $3.23 in damages per person. Even though Forest Park may have suffered more than other communities in the area, FEMA looks at the county as a whole, which would equal about $17 million for Cook County.
FEMA, however, determined that Cook County only sustained about $15 million in eligible damages, even though the Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management previously assessed the damage at nearly $27 million.
The Village of Forest Park spent approximately $100,000 in “extraordinary” expenses after more than seven inches of rain fell in some areas around town. The bulk of the cost came from overtime pay for employees in the public works, police and fire departments. The village also had to call for garbage removal, which is subcontracted work, outside of the normal operating day.
As such, the village council approved a resolution Monday for an appeal to FEMA’s determination because “Forest Park requires disaster assistance to restore its infrastructure and generally to protect the public health, safety and welfare of its residents,” the document stated.
“We are urging the governor to put some pressure on the White House,” said Mayor Anthony Calderone. “We have this issue with expenses that are not getting reimbursed.”
Even still, Calderone said he remained hopeful, noting that sometimes these issues just take awhile to get resolved.
A spokesperson for FEMA told the Review that Quinn has sent a letter to the federal agency, so the appeal is in process.
The type of aid under question is specifically for municipalities, not for individual homeowners who have applied for FEMA assistance. FEMA hands out two types of aid, public and individual.
As for individual homeowners, FEMA has extended the filing deadline once again to Nov. 15.
Calderone said that FEMA has doled out roughly $1 million in aid to Forest Park homeowners thus far.
“If you suffered damage on your home, the bottom line is you should contact FEMA,” he said.