Davis unsure if Taylorville will qualify for federal public assistance

Davis unsure if Taylorville will qualify for federal public assistance. (Rachel Droze)

A new law faces its first test in Taylorville after Saturday’s EF-3 tornado.

That law, the Disaster Declaration Improvement Act, changes the formula FEMA uses when doling out money to disaster areas.

That law was written by Taylorville's native, Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville.

“This is personal to me,” Davis said. “This is my hometown. I never thought that my new bill, my new law - the first test of it may be my hometown of Taylorville.”

The legislation is meant to level the playing field across the country when seeking federal assistance following a major disaster.

The bill was signed into law just two months ago.

“We were being judged against the population of our state, which usually resides — most of the population of Illinois resides in the northeast corner of our state,” Davis said. “Rural communities were being adversely impacted.”

And as the city of Taylorville, including Davis, continued to pick up the pieces left behind by the storm —

“It’s not just names and addresses on a spreadsheet anymore,” Davis said. “These are personal friends. They're neighbors.”

Officials are trying to gather the information they need to submit to the federal government.

"I was asked today to come up with the numbers of how many hours of overtime that we’ve put in that we’ve called out guys to work,” Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp said.

Once all the departments gather those figures and final assessments are complete, the state will decide if they’ll apply for help from the feds.

“We’ve got to do everything we can to make sure that the local officials get the right numbers, give them to the state officials,” Davis said. “IEMA and the Governor’s Office will decide whether or not a federal disaster declaration will be requested.”

Davis said he doesn’t know if there’s enough public infrastructure damage in Taylorville to qualify for federal public aid.

He said there is federal aid available for individuals without insurance. The state of Illinois would also have to send in the application for people to qualify for that in the area.

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