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City of Marion declares local state of financial emergency

City of Marion declares local state of financial emergency

Staff writer

Both county commissioners and Marion city council issued disaster declarations Monday after 13 days of below-freezing weather that included a week of subzero temperatures.

County commissioners declared a state of disaster partly at the request of Marion and Hillsboro. Hillsboro city administrator Matt Stiles said the city has not yet made a formal declaration, but will be making one soon.

“We haven’t set a special meeting, but if we don’t do a special meeting it will be on the agenda for March 2,” Stiles said.

Commissioner Kent Becker said the declaration included the entire county, but cities can sign their own disaster declarations as well.

The city of Marion declared a local state of financial emergency.

County emergency manager Randy Frank told commissioners the county would have to meet a $46,000 damage threshold to qualify, but the state has to meet a higher threshold in order to get assistance funds from Federal Emergency Management Administration.

“Once the state makes a declaration, we have to do damage assessments, and we’ll be looking for utility bills and things like that,” Frank said.

Becker pointed to the time involved in getting help from FEMA.

“It’s so we’re on a list in case,” Becker said. “We don’t know what FEMA will do. We’re still working on the 2019 flood. It’s a way to get on FEMA’s list. I don’t think anyone knows yet because the damage has to be documented.”

“Certain conditions caused, or eminently threatened to cause widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property in disaster proportion with severe winter weather during February 2021 in Marion County,” the county’s declaration said.

The city’s declaration is targeted at the cost of utility bills.

“Low temperatures with sub-zero wind chills over several days accompanied by snow, sleet, and freezing rain across the state have causes stress to the energy infrastructure.

The cost to purchase natural gas exceeded 10 – 200 times the normal prices, and without emergency action, the increased prices required to purchase natural gas and or electricity will result in significantly higher than normal utility bills for the citizens of the city threatening the financial health, and the physical welfare of the city’s residents and businesses,” the city declaration read.

“As of Feb. 22, the city of Marion is in an extraordinary financial emergency.”

Last modified Feb. 24, 2021

 

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