Beavercreek receives first FEMA tornado cleanup reimbursement

The city of Beavercreek received its first federal and state payments for money it spent on tornado cleanup efforts.

The city received $818,518 from the Federal Emergency Managment Agency and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, according to Theresa Hathaway, Beavercreek assistance finance director. This is the first installment of approximately $3 million the city expects to receive for expenses it had in relation to the Memorial Day tornado cleanup.

Initial coverage (June 2019): FEMA disaster centers to open in Beavercreek, Dayton for tornado aid

“We were one of the first in the area to get reimbursed so we are very happy about that,” Beavercreek City Manager Pete Landrum said.

As it was required by the auditor of the state, the city established a FEMA fund to receive the reimbursements. Once received, council must approve a reimbursement to the street levy fund where the tornado related expenses were pulled from.

Council certified the money Monday as reimbursement revenue to be returned to the street levy fund.

In 2019, the city’s general fund advanced $250,000 to the street levy fund to ensure it continued to meet the minimum fund balance requirement, as well as covering the cost of tornado related expenses. With Monday’s reimbursement, the street levy fund is now in the position to pay that advancement back to the general fund.

Feds, locals mark $900,000 for disaster manager to aid businesses

Landrum said the city had to delay some 2019 street projects because of the funds needed for tornado cleanup.

While the city is able to complete its regularly planned projects for 2020, it cannot begin to catch up last year’s lost work until it receives more reimbursement money from FEMA and the state.

“Hopefully we get all the money back in 2020, that will be ideal,” Landrum said. “But we are not promised on that so we don’t know. Once we get a significant portion back on that money, then we’ll let council decide either through the 2021 budget process or if we happen to get enough money back this year that we feel like we can do an additional project (this year) to get caught back up.”

Related: Greene County’s ‘Mount Brushmore’ debris pile begins to disappear

At Monday’s meeting, council member Joanna Garcia urged residents who still need any kind of recovery assistance to report their case to the United Way’s 211 HelpLink number.

“I think the tornadoes that just happened out of state are a good reminder of the damage we incurred here in our city and that we still have people here who are trying to recover,” Garcia said.

Early in the spring, a number of organizations from across the country are coming to the Miami Valley to help rebuild the area. Garcia said the only way a person can be on the list to have their home rebuilt or have their property rebuilt is if they’re registered in the United Way’s case management system.

Related: (Aug. 2019): New tornado assistance helpline now taking calls

Garcia, who will begin to serve on the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission executive board next month, said she learned at the last MVRPC meeting that Beavercreek is underrepresented in the case management system compared to other tornado impacted cities who are requesting assistance. This is a result of Beavercreek residents not calling the 211 HelpLink.

“You do not have to be homeless,” Garcia said. “You do not have to unemployed. You do not have to be starving to get the assistance. So I would urge anyone who needs assistance at all, even if you are insured, to call this number.”

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