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Local News

Governor includes Grundy County in disaster proclamation

Assessments will determine if Coal City qualifies for aid

Gov. Bruce Rauner tours June 23 the destruction of a Coal City neighborhood left by EF3 tornado that tore through town the night before. Gov. Bruce Rauner has included Grundy County in a disaster proclamation for 23 Illinois counties for a period running from early June to late July.
Gov. Bruce Rauner tours June 23 the destruction of a Coal City neighborhood left by EF3 tornado that tore through town the night before. Gov. Bruce Rauner has included Grundy County in a disaster proclamation for 23 Illinois counties for a period running from early June to late July.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has included Grundy County in a disaster proclamation for 23 Illinois counties for a period running from early June to late July.

The proclamation could lead to financial relief for homeowners and government agencies affected by the June 22 tornado in Coal City.

But Coal City has not qualified yet for federal assistance, said Joe Schroeder, director of the Grundy County Emergency Management Agency.

"There's no guarantee of that," Schroeder said Monday. "It's just one of the steps leading to that."

Rauner apparently is trying to put enough disasters into one application so that Coal City and other areas across the state would meet the threshold amount needed to qualify for financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"It's kind of unprecedented in Illinois," Schroeder said. "Other states have done it in the past."

Coal City Mayor Terry Halliday said officials have been working with state legislators to find a way to seek federal disaster relief.

"Texas and Oklahoma have done something similar," Halliday said of Rauner's proclamation. "I would hope that Illinois would qualify as well."

Rauner said a series of storms in June and July caused heavy rainfall, flash and river flooding, tornadoes and straight-line winds in 23 counties stretching from Alexander County on the Ohio River to Grundy County, The Associated Press reported.

Damage assessments will start this week in Grundy County and elsewhere, according to Rauner's office.

The governor said officials from FEMA, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration and local emergency management agencies will assess damages to homes and businesses.

"It puts some numbers on paper so we can get more numbers on how much damage there was," Schroeder said. "It will be a lot of work over the next two weeks."

Depending on the assessment results and whether FEMA deems that Illinois qualifies for relief, financial assistance could be available for individual homes and government agencies, Schroeder said.

In Coal City, a total of 884 properties were damaged by the EF3 tornado.

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