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      One week left for communities to request federal funds for flooding damage

      ***Update***Local governments, county agencies and certain private nonprofit organizations qualifying for federal disaster funds for severe flood damage have one week remaining to apply for aid. The affected counties are Allegan, Baraga, Barry, Gogebic, Houghton, Ionia, Kent, Keweenaw, Marquette, Midland, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ontonagon, Osceola, Ottawa and Saginaw. President Obama declared a major disaster area for the 16 counties on June 18, making public assistance available in the form of grants to those impacted local governments and agencies. Public officials and other eligible applicants should call the MSP/EMHSD at 888-363-8632 for more information.***End Update***

      Months after heavy flooding put roads and bridges across Saginaw County under water, communities are getting help from the federal government.

      â??To ensure that they get the aid they need to help them rebuild after the spring flooding,â?? said Ron Leix with the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division.

      Saginaw County and 15 other counties are eligible for public assistance grants after president Obama declared a disaster zone in Michigan in June.

      The damage toll from the April and May flooding is estimated at roughly $20 million statewide.

      â??When a bridge washes out, it's not cheap, when a culvert washes out, it's not cheap either,â?? Leix said.

      Leo Skinner with the Federal Emergency Management Agency said, "They don't budget this money ahead of time for disasters. That's money they have to pay out of their taxpayer dollars."

      Representatives from FEMA met with members of local governments, state agencies and non-profit organizations Thursday to explain how repair and rebuilding costs will be reimbursed It could take FEMA up to six months to process applications and reimburse costs.

      The Public Assistance grants cover damages to roads, bridges and other public infrastructure and property.

      Individual homeowners and businesses that had property damage in the flooding may report it to the Saginaw County Emergency Management at 989-790-5500.