Obama confirms disaster payout for Davis wind storm damage

Feb 2 2012 - 3:28pm

KAYSVILLE -- Mayor Steve Hiatt admits there is always some doubt when asking the federal government for money.

So when word arrived Wednesday that aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency was headed to Utah to help pay for the damage caused by December's hurricane-force windstorm that ripped through Davis County and caused damage throughout the state, Hiatt couldn't have been more delighted.

"I'm very pleased that we were able to get a rapid response," Hiatt said. "You never know what's going to happen in times like this. All of us pay in to FEMA, and it's nice to have some financial relief on something we've paid into and to have the system work and help us in times of catastrophe."

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama declared the windstorm that tore through much of Davis County on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 a major disaster and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area.

Obama's announcement means state and local governments and certain nonprofits can apply for money to repair and replace damaged facilities.

"Everybody is pleased because we all worked hard and worked together on this," Davis County Commissioner Louenda Downs said.

Winds up to 100 mph ripped into homes and businesses, knocking down trees and power lines. The wind also toppled semitrailers and blew debris through neighborhoods, causing schools and businesses to close.

In January, FEMA conducted an assessment that revealed municipal entities collectively suffered $4.1 million in property damage.

Downs said the aid is coming so quickly thanks to the administrators who kept records and receipts on clean-up efforts.

"It was evident when FEMA came and met with the cities and county, everyone had documentation and was organized," Downs said.

Kaysville officials reported that its power plant had about $500,000 in damage from the storm.

"We could have shouldered the money from our reserves," Hiatt said.

"But the FEMA money certainly is a benefit to our residents."

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