SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today declared eight northern Illinois counties state disaster areas due to a heavy snowfall in early February. He also submitted a request to President Bush to declare those counties snow emergency areas, a move that would enable local governments in those counties to receive reimbursement for a portion of their overtime costs for storm-related snow removal and protective measures. Counties included in the Governor’s request include Boone, Carroll, Jo Daviess, Lake, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago.
“It’s been a particularly harsh winter and many local governments have been stretched dangerously thin from responding to multiple winter storms,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “Today I’m asking President Bush to approve federal snow assistance so that these counties can recoup some of their snow removal costs and be better able to ensure public health and safety if even more snow hits their area this year.”
Gov. Blagojevich’s letter to the President requests federal snow assistance for counties that experienced a one, two or three-day record or near-record snowfall during the storm that struck Feb. 5-6. If the request is approved, governmental bodies in those counties would be eligible for reimbursement of 75 percent of overtime labor costs for snow removal during a 48-hour period, as well as overtime costs for emergency personnel directly related to the snow removal efforts.
“Many of these counties also saw record or near-record snowfall in December 2006, and we were successful in getting a federal snow assistance declaration at that time,” said Andrew Velasquez III, director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. “We hope the federal government acts quickly to help these counties once again recover from a major snowfall.”