Timing is everything. No one knows that any better than the city of Hannibal.
On Friday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced that President Barack Obama has approved his request for a major disaster declaration for Missouri as a result of the severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and prolonged flooding that affected large portions of the state this spring. But from Hannibal’s perspective, the timing is off.
According to Friday’s announcement, local governments and nonprofit agencies in 27 Show-Me State counties, including Marion, Lewis, Ralls, Pike, Shelby and Lincoln, are eligible to seek assistance for response and recovery expenses associated with the severe weather and flooding that occurred from May 29 to June 10. Unfortunately the bulk of Hannibal’s damage was sustained during a severe storm on May 20.
Does that mean the city of Hannibal and Hannibal Board of Public Works are out of luck as far as receiving any reimbursement for their response or recovery costs?
“Only expenses incurred during or as a result of the disaster period would be included,” said Mike O’Connell, communications director for the Missouri Department of Public Safety, in an e-mail response to the Courier-Post.
“Nope,” replied Bob Stevenson, general manager of the BPW, who reported earlier this week the BPW’s storm-related costs are just over $700,000. “Our storm was May 20, 2013. (That’s) outside the date range of this declaration.”
Only Jeff LaGarce, city manager, was hopeful that at least some of Hannibal’s $400,000 costs might qualify.
“It very well may help us,” said LaGarce regarding the declaration in an e-mail. “The declaration only covers a 12-day window, but we expended a lot of funds during that period. Our particular disaster occurred May 20, before this horizon, so we’ll have to see if the cleanup activities that occurred May 29-June 10 are eligible. I suspect they will be.”
The federal government said the governor’s July 3 request seeking individual assistance for residents in seven Missouri counties, including Pike and Lincoln, is under review.