State Denies Newaygo County’s Request for Disaster and Emergency Funds

The Newaygo County roads damaged during flooding this spring are costing the county a lot of money to repair.

The Newaygo County Road Commission went 30% over their budget trying to fix their roads.

Rain and melting snow caused more than $300,000 in road damage.

Some sections simply washed away.

They turned to the state for help by requesting funds from the Disaster and Emergency fund.

That request was denied.

Now the county is hoping the state will reconsider.

“We’re well aware the governor knows what the state of the roads are. That was her platform and we’re pretty sure this is just a mistake,” said Kelly Smith, Managing Director of Newaygo County Road Commission.

The state said no to giving disaster and emergency funds to Newaygo County.

“During that time we had response where we had to respond immediately to road closures, flooding events, culverts washing out,” said Smith.

With winter over runs and this damage, the road commission is already way over their maintenance budget.

“At this point our concern is that how they viewed the dollar amounts that we gave to them,” said Kelly.

The road commission thinks the state saw their total $13 million budget, but many of those funds restricted.

Without state help, summer projects will be canceled.

“We feel it’s more appropriate that they actually compare damage totals to our actual maintenance budget which in our view would be a better representation of how it effects our budget,” explained Kelly.

The governor’s office determined the damage in Newaygo County “…did not place unreasonably great demands upon the county or clearly demonstrate exhaustion of local effort.”

Residents are not too happy about that response.

“We count for something up here in rural Michigan and we need our roads fixed as bad as anyone else does,” said Mike Webster, who lives in Newaygo County. “I’m hoping they can get the roads fixed and get the funding they need to do it because they need it.”

With that hope that the governor’s office will reconsider, the county is resubmitting to request these funds.