Moore, Norman Waiting for Ice Storm Reimbursement

Monday, February 16th 2009, 5:06 pm
By: News 9

By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9

NORMAN, Oklahoma -- While most attention has been placed on last week's bad weather, many parts of Oklahoma are still waiting to be reimbursed from the ice storms of 2007.

Moore and Norman may have to wait a little longer for their money.

The ice storms of December '07 required a massive cleanup in Norman. The final bill topped $6 million. The federal reimbursement share-75 percent - has mostly been paid. Not so the state.

"Totally the state owed about $1.2 million, owed is a broad term, and has paid about $500,000 and still owes about $700,000," Norman Finance Director Anthony Francisco said.

Statewide the Department of Emergency Management must still reimburse cities and towns about $15 million for various storm disasters over the last two years. The Department hopes to get that money from the Legislature. But those dollars will be hard to find in a year of declining revenue.

The city of Moore still has $50,000 coming.

"They did come out for an audit probably about a month or so ago and indicated to us at the time it would be approximately 30 days, but, you know, we won't cross our fingers," Moore City Manager Steve Eddy said.

Like Moore, Norman budgets for emergency situations like storm cleanup and has built-in reserves to allow for the time-consuming reimbursement process. There's no problem now, but the chance for a delay in reimbursement being prolonged is a possibility.

"If it continues to go beyond the end of this fiscal year, it could start to cause us some cash-flow problems," Eddy said.

The Legislature would like to approve those funds this year. But the process is filled with uncertainties--just like the weather in the Sooner state.

Under the reimbursement formula, the federal government pays for 75 percent of the cleanup efforts. The remainder is divided equally between the state and the cities.