Gov. Chris Gregoire asks president to declare King County as disaster area
February 24, 2012
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 3:15 p.m. Feb. 24, 2012
Gov. Chris Gregoire asked President Barack Obama on Friday to declare a federal disaster area in King County and 10 other Washington counties for damages and response costs from January storms.
If the declaration is approved, Issaquah and other governments could defray 75 percent of eligible disaster-related costs — such as debris removal — by using Federal Emergency Management Agency public assistance grants.
The cost of storm response and cleanup reached $530,000 for Issaquah municipal government. Officials used the dollars to put snowplows on Issaquah streets in 24-hour stretches, clear fallen trees and haul off debris.
If a disaster declaration occurs, city officials said about $383,000 in costs related to the storms could be eligible for reimbursement through FEMA.
“The snow and ice that hit our state last month left widespread damage to public utility systems and roads,” Gregoire said in a statement. “It also placed a heavy financial burden on local jurisdictions for debris removal and emergency response at a time when the state, cities and counties face shrinking operational budgets. I’m hopeful we get the financial help necessary to quickly recover from the January storm.”
Preliminary state and federal damage assessments estimated $32.3 million in potential eligible damage across the state caused by snow, freezing rain, power outages, rain, fallen trees and limbs, avalanches, falling ice, landslides and storm debris.
Gregoire proclaimed a winter storm emergency in the state Jan. 18.