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State Not Chipping In To Help With ‘Icemageddon’ Bills

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – More cold weather is headed this way, but cities across North Texas are hoping ice and snow will stay away.

Besides the complications weather can wreak on city services, December’s ice storm racked up huge bills and now many municipalities are just now finding out the state won’t be chipping in to help pay for them.

Last month’s storm had North Texas below freezing for more than 60 hours straight.

While most of us remember the cobblestone ice freezing on bridges and arctic weather closing schools, most people don’t think about just how expensive it is for cities to deal with storm conditions.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said there are lots of things to be considered. “You’ve got fire, police, water, emergency services, and road crews. You’ve got TxDOT and Red Cross to coordinate with. You’ve got MedStar to get out there and customer service to keep open to take calls. So, it really involves a lot of people.”

With city services running on overtime, the costs of the December storm piled up quicker than the ice.

Fort Worth estimates it spend $714,000 in the five days of ‘icemageddon.’

MedStar responded to 50-percent more calls and racked up $250,000 in bills.

Officials at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport say they are out $2 million in costs due to the storm.

Tuesday the Fort Worth city council learned that none of those costs are enough to earn emergency funding from the state. According to Fort Worth emergency management figures, the minimum amount Tarrant County needed to spend to qualify for disaster relief was just over $6 million.

The major cities and DFW Airport spent around $3 million.

Emergency management office officials said Denton and Dallas Counties don’t qualify for disaster relief either.

DFW Airport representatives told CBS 11 News that in order to keep from raising customer fees they’ll have to find ways of cutting back their budget to pay for the storm.

While Fort Worth officials reportedly have emergency funds set aside, city leaders said they will still continue to look for other federal and state aid to help cover the costs of icemageddon.

“We’re always looking for additional resources,” Price said. “But, we’ve got to take care of our citizens in storms like that.”

According to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) criteria, a city or county would have to be “overwhelmed financially” to qualify for relief.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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