A winter of freezing pipes and broken infrastructure has hit one community in the Upper Peninsula hard enough to prompt Governor Rick Snyder to declare a state of emergency for the area Thursday morning.
The declaration paves the way for state aid in Marquette County, where water and sewer pipe damage has already cost the county $1.6 million dollars. Several local communities have run out of money to pay for repairs. Officials say they expect the situation to get worse before it gets better.
“It (the emergency declaration) offers up state resources—could me material or equipment—to be used and focused in that area,” explains state Representative John Kivela of Marquette. “The state then can match up to $100,000 per jurisdiction – that’s the townships, the cities, the county.”
The declaration also gives President Obama the opportunity to declare Marquette County a disaster area, which would bring funding from FEMA to the region.
“It was done back in ’93-’94, twenty years ago when we had a similar situation,” says Kivela. “This is significantly worse than ’93-’94. So yeah, we’re optimistic that the feds can step in.”