To date, no federal or state level reimbursements have been allocated to any organization within the state following Winter Storm Pax, according to S.C. Emergency Management Division officials.


The deadline to submit reimbursement applications for ice storm recovery and emergency operations ended today. This deadline is for all organizations applying for federal and state reimbursement covering emergency costs, uninsured damage to public infrastructure and debris removal, according to Division Public Information Coordinator Derrec Becker.


“With the deadline for application submissions being May 9, right now we are working with each applicant who may need to pull together additional documentation on their projects,” Becker said. “So far, there have been 22 applications submitted by organizations in Aiken County.”


Becker said the S.C. Emergency Management Division won't be able to determine the eligibility of each application until all documentation is submitted and entered into the Federal Emergency Management Agency's, or FEMA, system. The applications are then reviewed by federal recovery specialists.


After President Barack Obama issued a major disaster declaration for public assistance in South Carolina on March 12, federal funds were made available to counties throughout the state, including Aiken.


Aiken County and the City of Aiken both participated in a pilot program to potentially receive 85 percent of federal cost share for the first 30 days of debris pickup, and a potential 80 percent for the next 30 days. The state is expected to pick up the remaining 25 percent of the cost to cover emergency and recovery operations.


Becker said he couldn't answer whether the state would fully back the 25 percent cost share; that issue is still sitting with the legislature.


Even though the application process is still ongoing, Becker said funds could be released by mid July.


“I don't want to pigeon hole on the timeline,” Becker said. “But at least, hopefully, by the end of the year, everything is settled. There's still a great deal of paperwork and documentation to go through that is required by some of the agencies we haven't gotten.”


Maayan Schechter is the local government reporter with Aiken Standard.