Snow costs stress local budgets

Counties wait to hear back about federal aid

INDIANAPOLIS - Like it or not, more snow is on the way for central Indiana, and just the thought of having to fight another winter storm is difficult for dozens of counties with already-stressed budgets.

The salt trucks are filled up ready to go for the latest round of winter weather expected Wednesday.

Fighting the snow has been an expensive proposition this season, one that dozens of central Indiana counties are hoping to get reimbursed for.

Wednesday’s storm comes while many counties are still trying to make up the cost of previous snow-fighting efforts.

Gov. Mike Pence recently applied for federal aid on behalf of 49 Indiana counties. They are hoping to relieve budgets stressed by that early January weather that dumped several inches across the state.

"We had a record snowfall of 13 inches here and that was in a 48-hour period," Madison County Emergency Management Director Tom Ecker said.

Ecker said that storm cost the county about half a million dollars. They are hoping to get 75 percent of that back from FEMA to help cover the cost of fuel, overtime and salt.

Hamilton County is trying to get reimbursed too. Emergency Management Director Tom Sivak said that same storm cost them closer to a million dollars, which was money taken from local budgets.

"When you can alleviate some of the pains of that 48 hours that they identified, it will be very beneficial and then that money will flow back into budgets," Sivak said.

While dozens of counties wait on FEMA, the salt is stockpiled and the trucks are ready to roll out yet again.

State Homeland Security officials expect FEMA to get back to them about the applications within the next 30 days.

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