SHIAWASSEE COUNTY’S REQUEST for State of Emergency relief was denied through a letter from the State of Michigan/Department of State Police on Friday, March 29. The request was made after two tornadoes touched down in Shiawassee County on the evening of Thursday, March 14, leaving a trail of damage that included over 90 houses, 16 barns, four businesses and other property damage.
The letter was addressed to Shiawassee County Commissioner Jeremy Root, chairperson. It was signed by Capt. Emmitt McGowan, commander of the Michigan State Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division. McGowan has held that position since July 2018.
The total cost of the damage, estimated by the county, is nearly $10,000,000. In a press release, Root stated, “We are obviously disappointed in the Governor’s decision.” Root shared that the governor had called him, saying she would help, but then the letter of denial was delivered last week.
According to the letter, the information provided estimated tornado damage costs to public agencies at $150,000 – in accordance with the state emergency management act (Act 390 of 1976, Section 19). In short, the letter stated “the local commitment did not place unreasonably great demands upon the county or clearly demonstrate exhaustion of local effort.” Juxtaposed with that statement, the letter also said, “In fact, the county’s efforts were commendable and clearly demonstrated the strength and resiliency of local agencies in addressing public health and safety threats.” The complete act can be read online at www.legislature.mi.gov.
Trent Atkins, Shiawassee County Director of Emergency Management, continued in the press release, stating, “Even though we did not receive support from the Governor’s office, our local efforts showed the resilience of our county. Our local fire and law enforcement agencies, with our partners from the Michigan State Police, demonstrated the value of our efforts to prepare and plan for disasters.”
During a phone call on Wednesday, March 3, State Rep. Ben Frederick stated, “We’re not giving up. We’re going forward and will be looking at the budget and other avenues.”
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)