Yakima's state of emergency could help reimburse home owners for snow damages

Yakima's state of emergency could help reimburse home owners for damages.

YAKIMA, Wash.- After blizzard like conditions knocked out power lines and closed multiple highways, Yakima declared a state of emergency urging everyone to stay inside.

This allows local fire districts to help each other in the area when responding to people in need.

But with the city expected to get hit with another few inches of snow, Yakima leaders said the declaration could help home owners get money back for any damages.

“That declared disaster allows those individual property owners to seek reimbursement from FEMA and it could be city property as well,” city manager Cliff Moore said.

He said the county has to suffer over $850,000 worth of damages, but needs a governor's request and a presidential disaster declaration for the funding to kick in.

But said the possible damage from flooding that comes when the snow melts also fall under that coverage.

The state of emergency will allow the city to bring in more plows and snow removal equipment from the state, but Moore said they haven't reached that level just yet.

And that's because the city almost doubled its snow removal budget over the years.

“Two years ago, our budget was $300,000 and this year we're up to $500,000,” finance and budget director Steve Groom said.

City leaders said the budget is strained, but is holding up well with the added funds.

Even with more money, Moore said the projected snow will likely slow down plows that are supposed to clear out streets near your home.

With over 400 lane miles to plow, he said it usually takes a day to a day and a half to get through it all.

However, you might be waiting around even longer with all the added snow coming in the next couple days.

“With amount of snow that we've had in the last week, and the five inches that are predicted tonight, it may take longer than two days to do a full circle,” Moore said.

Yakima’s city council has 72 hours to ratify the state of emergency since it was declared, so they plan on meeting February 12 to make it official.

For more information on FEMA funding.

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