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Cities Deal With Ice Storm Debt After FEMA Denies Claims

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COLLIN COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – We all remember what was referred to as “cobblestone ice” tearing up North Texas streets. The falling ice also damaged cars and homes. December’s ice storm left areas from east to west battered and bruised. Now we’ve learned we’ve been left out in the cold again.

The federal government has turned down an appeal for aid… leaving our cities and counties with a mountain of bills.

After being hit with what seemed like never-ending ice and sleet, city leaders say they’ve been hit with big bills to pay for all the ice storm’s damage, since the federal funding they wanted so badly isn’t coming through.

The ice beat up cars, damaged homes and a left a cleanup the likes of which Collin County has never seen. The Plano City Manager Bruce Glasscock is still receiving bills, including a staggering $57,000 one for sanding and another $44,000 for downed street light repairs.

The total cost to repair damage in that one city is nearly $700,000.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency responded to a funding request with a letter saying the 2013 ice storm “is not of the severity or magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration.”

“That basically means we’re going to have to absorb that $680,000 into our budget that isn’t a budgeted item,” Glasscock explained.

Plano is not alone. The City of Frisco spent $230,000 on ice cleanup.

In all, 15 North Texas counties spent a staggering $43 million and have filed an appeal seeking federal disaster relief that emergency management offices say may go even higher.

Plano Emergency Management Director Ron Timmons said, “There still has been some debris [cleanup] efforts underway, but it’s starting to wind down now that the spring is here.”

Cities like Plano will have to dip into their reserves or possibly cut budgets to compensate for the lack of federal aid that they say should have been approved.

Timmons said the money is, “… extremely important not only for us but the other cities that face the same thing.”

As it stands, a number of Collin County cities are preparing their budgets. Leaders say if there isn’t enough reserve cash, the ice storm may do even more damage in terms of cuts to local government services and projects.

(©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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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