FEMA denies appeal to tornado stricken counties in Illinois

By WEEK Producer

March 4, 2014 Updated Mar 5, 2014 at 11:07 AM CDT

WASHINGTON, D.C -- FEMA has denied an appeal from Governor Quinn that would have given financial aid to nine counties in Illinois affected by the deadly tornadoes on November 17.

“Today's announcement is disappointing because it is based on outdated federal rules and not the serious need that exists in Washington, Brookport, Gifford, New Minden, Diamond and other hard-hit Illinois communities," said Quinn.

FEMA decided to deny the request based off a set formula. FEMA says the state should be able to pay $1.36 per resident. That means Illinois needs to rack up $17.8 million dollars worth of damage to qualify for aid. That didn't happen.

This means local governments that spent millions of dollars to help rebuild won't be reimbursed federally.

Washington Mayor Gary Manier spent seven hours with FEMA going over Washington's numbers.

The projected cost for the city is $26 million. According to FEMA, Washington did not meet the "formula" for receiving aid.

According to FEMA rules, a city is only allowed to complete debris removal for up to three days.

Manier said the city chose to go past that point because of the time of year that the tornado happened.

He said if they would have waited for homeowners insurance to come through they would still have a mess today due to the snow.

Manier believes the federal government has failed Illinois.

"I should have known early on when the President, right in his home state, didn't bother to come to Washington, Illinois to see the devastation that we were facing and continue to be faced with. Not just the first two or three days, but this is a 6 month to two year process for us. I'm just greatly disappointed," said Mayor Manier.

Mayor Manier says he will not put his staff through another FEMA appeal process.

His next step is to work with the state for assistance.

City Administrator Tim Gleason said cutting city employees is not an option.

He said he will continue to evaluate the budget and adjust accordingly.