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Marquette County to appeal FEMA's denial of flood damage relief

MARQUETTE, MI— Marquette County is appealing FEMA’s decision to deny disaster funding for public areas damaged by flooding this spring.

County Emergency Manager Brian Hummel says federal guidance for disaster relief looks only at the cost to repair in-kind, and FEMA isn’t willing to waive any administrative rules that look at the total cost of repair up to modern codes and standards.

“So, there’s a considerable difference in what the federal government will accept as an allowable cost versus what the actual cost of a repair would be.”

Marquette County suffered around $8 million in flood damage. Hummel notes assistance from the state of Michigan is based on the number of people in the region, so it won’t make much of a dent.

“And because of where Marquette County’s population falls, we’re eligible (for) up to a half million dollars in assistance.”

The Small Business Administration—which covers non-public damage—also declined assistance to Marquette County home and business owners. Hummel says more than 200 residents reported issues with their property after the flooding.

Marquette and other flood-damaged counties had issues crop up over the summer with roads and infrastructure settling. Hummel says the new data is the county’s only hope in the appeal process—to find enough additional cost in impacted counties to put them over the threshold for federal relief.

The state has already been in contact with FEMA and the White House to address the situation.

Nicole was born near Detroit but has lived in the U.P. most of her life. She graduated from Marquette Senior High School and attended Michigan State and Northern Michigan Universities, graduating from NMU in 1993 with a degree in English.