July 9, 2010
A storm that devastated parts of Charlottesville two weeks ago is still costing the city, and crews don't expect to be finished with cleanup until August.
Many crews are still working overtime cleaning debris two weeks after a micro-burst wreaked havoc. Early cost estimates are that the cleanup is costing the city $200,000.
"They're having to stop doing other things to take care of the debris certainly," said Marge Thomas of the city's emergency management department. "That's costing a lot of money."
The city is asking the office of Gov. Bob McDonnell for relief. They want a disaster grant known as the Commonwealth Emergency Relief for Localities. It covers localized weather disasters ineligible for aid from FEMA.
"It really depends on even if the governor agrees that we should receive anything at all," Thomas said.
The city may have to pay for the bulk of the cleanup. Even if they do get the emergency grant, that only covers about 50 percent of the costs.
In these penny-pinching times, the commonwealth is holding on tight to the money it has.
"I'm optimistic because they said we're coming to take a look, and I wasn't even expecting that," Thomas said. "So I'm hoping."
Every little bit helps because without state aid, the city could find itself in a pile of debt.
Representatives from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management will be in Charlottesville Tuesday to decide if the storm damage qualifies the city for disaster aid.