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FEMA covers snow costs

Local governments, schools, nonprofits get $5.7 million

Local governments, schools and nonprofit agencies in Spokane County have been reimbursed $5.7 million for their costs in responding to record snows that began in mid-December 2008 and continued through early January 2009.

Under government guidelines, the Federal Emergency Management Agency paid the agencies for the cost of snow removal during a 48-hour event and for damages to public and nonprofit facilities as the result of a declared emergency.

The amounts for damages came under a statewide disaster declaration requested by Gov. Chris Gregoire and granted by President Barack Obama for the period of Dec. 11, 2008, through Jan. 8, 2009, officials said.

According to records, payments included Spokane city, $1,962,485; Spokane County, $1,393,523; Spokane Public Schools, $159,592; Central Valley School District, $178,275; and Spokane Valley Fire Department, $53,713.

The amounts varied across more than 200 individual claims.

In other examples, the Spokane Guild’s School and Neuromuscular Center received $8,500 in three separate claims for snow removal and protective measures.

The city of Cheney had three reimbursement items for $54,000.

The money came back to Spokane through coordinated work by the county and state emergency management departments, said Gerry Bozarth, disaster recovery specialist for the county.

Physical damages were paid at 75 percent of the loss for uninsured or self-insured facilities, including roads. Agencies also received reimbursement for deductibles for insured losses.

Over a 34-hour period on Dec. 17 and 18, 2008, Spokane was hit with 23.3 inches of snow. During one 24-hour period during the storm, Spokane had a record of 19.4 inches of snow. The month ended with 61.5 inches of snowfall.