Howard to receive FEMA funds for Tropical Storm Lee damage

Howard County has reversed its fortunes and will receive federal disaster relief funding for public damages caused by Tropical Storm Lee and the extensive flooding it caused in early September.

A county application for such funding previously had been rejected.

The decision by the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to add Howard to the list of Maryland jurisdictions receiving FEMA funding for their recovery from Lee was announced by FEMA Nov. 1.

It came almost a full month after President Barack Obama's Oct. 5 declaration of a disaster from Lee in four other Maryland counties – Anne Arundel, Cecil, Charles and Prince George's.

Howard was initially left off the list because MEMA and FEMA officials had determined that it's total expenses from Lee did not reach an "expense threshold" of about $1 million, the minimum amount to make it eligible for federal relief dollars, said Ryan Miller, deputy director of the county's Office of Emergency Management.

Some of the expenses the county had listed in its initial application were deemed ineligible, Miller said.

But following a review of the expenses by the county, MEMA and FEMA – and an effort by the county to identify any outstanding storm costs previously unaccounted for – that decision was overturned.

The federal funding, which will go toward public expenses such as road repairs and debris removal, will cover 75 percent of the county's eligible Lee-related costs, according to a news release from FEMA.

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