Parkersburg receives first FEMA reimbursement

PARKERSBURG – The city of Parkersburg has received a $54,000 reimbursement from FEMA to help cover storm damage costs in June.

A derecho, a fast moving line of storms, struck the area June 29, knocking out power to much of the region for more than a week. Downed trees blocked roads and damaged buildings throughout the area and gas supplies ran low.

“Soon after the storm hit we began the clean-up operation,” said Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell. “We had roads that were completely blocked by trees, and we needed to get those areas cleared as quickly as possible, not just for emergency services, but also to give the power company the ability to come into those areas.”

In some cases the city had to contract with other companies to provide equipment and labor for cleanup, he said.

The clean-up effort “wasn’t exactly 24-hours-a-day, but it was a lot of 12-14-hour days and through the weekend,” Newell said.

City Development Director Ann Conageski said the city applied for three reimbursement packages from FEMA to cover costs incurred during the storm and received the first reimbursement this week. Category A included expenses for debris removal, including overtime pay, gasoline purchases and equipment purchase and rentals. The total reimbursement was about $54,000.

Category B includes costs for emergency services, including police overtime and labor, and some equipment costs, such as use of generators.

“They give you an hourly reimbursement rate for the time you actually run the generators,” she said. “It basically covers the fuel and the wear-and-tear on the equipment.”

The Category B reimbursement is expected to be about $26,000, she said.

Category C, the smallest reimbursement, will be for damage to facilities. Conageski said the city saw some damage to park facilities and buildings, but repair of those areas has already been covered by insurance.

“We have insurance with a $1,000 deductible,” she said, “so the reimbursement basically covers that deductible.”

Newell said he was pleased with the speed of the reimbursements. That money will be used to fill in areas of the budget where money already has been paid out.

In some cases the reimbursement has allowed the city to purchase equipment with little to no cost.

“Like with the chainsaws, those items we will continue to use,” Newell said. “It was for equipment we will continue to use and maintain.”