Modified: February 14, 2023 3:14pm
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, in Washington D.C. for the 2023 National Association of Counties (“NACo”) Legislative Conference, today spoke with President Joe Biden regarding gaining Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) recognition of the December 2022 Christmas Blizzard as a Major Disaster. Declaring the blizzard as a Major Disaster would free up FEMA reimbursement funding for municipalities that incurred millions in costs for storm response and cleanup.
Poloncarz said, “I had the honor of meeting with President Biden one-on-one this afternoon, and was grateful for the opportunity to talk to him about the Christmas blizzard and the devastating effects it had on our community. In describing the severity of the blizzard I also spoke to the President about our community’s need to have the storm storm declared a Major Disaster. The President listened intently and directed his staff to follow up on this important matter. The President also gave his best wishes to the community after the year we had. Gaining this declaration is of critical importance to us, as it will allow for up to 75% of all funds that municipalities spent on storm response and recovery to be eligible for FEMA reimbursement, provided that those costs are eligible. Our initial estimates indicate that Erie County alone spent more than $22.1 million in storm-related expenses, and that does not account for the numerous municipalities, school districts, and others who also responded to the blizzard. Declaring the storm a Major Disaster will be a big step on the road to recovery for all.”
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