Putnam eligible for disaster funds

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Governor Mike Pence on Monday opened the State Disaster Relief Fund to local government in 16 counties affected by severe weather and flooding that began April 17.

Flooding that swelled Big Walnut Creek and other local waterways has qualified Putnam County for the state assistance.

Qualifying expenses include the replacement, repair and restoration of roads, sewer systems and other public property. Certain expenses with debris removal also are qualified expenses.

In Putnam County the damages included one destroyed home, five with major damage and 10 others with some level of damage.

County roads also sustained damage in the flood, including a stretch of County Road 600 West in Russell Township near County Bridge 10. The section of road was described by one witness as having been picked up by the rushing waters, then set down in the nearby field.

The flood included streams rising to well beyond flood stage, such as reaching a level of 17.25 feet in Reelsville, compared to a flood stage of 12 feet.

It was all part of a record-setting April that saw 10.79 inches of rainfall.

The flood prompted the Putnam County Commissioners to sign a local disaster proclamation in early May. The approval of the proclamation helped make the county eligible for these state funds.

Other eligible counties are Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clinton, Fountain, Hendricks, Howard, Knox, Madison, Montgomery, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Vermillion, Wabash and Warren.

In all of the counties, the storms and flooding resulted in extensive damage and strained the resources of local units of government.

The Indiana State Disaster Relief Fund was established in 2003 to provide assistance to individuals and local governments who may not be eligible for federal disaster assistance, but met the state's criteria for disaster relief.

Individual assistance from the State Disaster Relief Fund began immediately following the implementation of low interest federal disaster relief loans and is ongoing. Counties eligible include Blackford, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Delaware, Hamilton, Huntington, Madison, Miami, Wabash and Wells.

To date for the April flooding, there has been a total of $398,590 issued to Hoosiers for individual assistance. A total of $541,438 has been processed for payment.

Fees from retail fireworks sales provide the funding for the State Disaster Relief Fund, and Indiana is one of a few states to have a state fund.

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