FEMA denies 15 North Texas counties disaster assistance for the second time

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX - The Federal Government is denying disaster assistance once again for 15 North Texas counties affected by the severe winter storm that hit on December 5th.

Texas Governor Rick Perry says the severe winter ice storm that hit North Texas on December 5th left behind more than $48,000,000 in damages, among 15 counties for Grayson County.

"The costs that we had calculated were over 2 million dollars," said Sarah Somers, Grayson County Emergency Management Coordinator.

That's more than 2 million dollars the Federal Government won't be supplementing. Governor Perry's appeal to President Obama's denial of disaster assistance has been denied.

Somers says she disagrees with how the decision was made, "I disagree with having our storm measured against the storm and capacity to respond of say, Chicago Illinois."

Somers says FEMA uses one national policy to determine how much damage is sustained.

"The losses and damages from the December 5th winter storm in Texas still did not exceed the capabilities of the state or local government," said FEMA public information specialist Jacqueline Chandlers.

In order to receive federal assistance, damages must add up to at least 35 million dollars, and Somers says she feels North Texas reached that threshold.

"They disallowed some of the costs because they feel like they should be usual and ordinary things we prepare for. We don't budget for that kind of response it would make no sense for us to do that here," said Somers.

Somers says now it will be up to counties and cities to cover response costs and repair the damages from the storm that left roads iced over for days.

"Some people may see street damage that goes unrepaired for some time," said Somers.

A statement from Governor Perry's office says they're disappointed with the denial to help the Texans affected by the storm, and they'll work with local officials to determine the best steps moving forward.

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