UPDATE: President Obama approves Gov. Deal's disaster declaration for 39 counties

President Barack Obama approved Governor Nathan Deal

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal visits Augusta during ice storm. (WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, March 7, 2014

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- President Barack Obama approved Governor Nathan Deal's request for a disaster declaration, according to the Governor's Office.

"I think it's really their responsibility to come in and help," said Richard Ashwroth.

Not the taxpayers, the Government's. But Ashworth is still left fronting his bill.

"Some folks can't afford to fix anything, and we're fixing that fence one section at a time," Ashworth said.

All from a tree that snapped during last months ice storm.

"Trees started popping, sounded like shotgun's going off out there," he said.

Unfortunately the help coming from Washington, D.C., won't do much for his fence or the cost of chopping up the tree that fell on it.

"One thousand four hundred cubic feet, it's a lot," Ashworth said.

But it could help a lot with his taxes. Without the federal help, he could be looking at a bigger bill.

"We'll be looking at between five and six million dollars realistically," said Pam Tucker with Columbia County.


That's just the estimated amount of damage across Columbia County.

"75 percent coming to us to reimburse from the federal side, and then 15 percent from the state, and our local will pay 10 percent," she said.

That means the county would only have to come with $600,000.

"$600,000 compared to $6 million out of our local tax money," Tucker said.

That money comes out of a contingency fund set up by the county in case of an emergency. It would leave the taxpayer with a zero balance.

"Even if you don't get individual assistance for a tree falling or cost where you had to hire a tree company yourself, you're going to benefit because this money will not now be coming out of the tax base," Tucker said.

For Ashworth, spending less money, means everything these days and he's just ready for the mess to go away.

"They have not picked it up, we haven't seen anybody or heard anything," Ashworth said.

Original report

GEORGIA (WRDW)- President Barack Obama approved Governor Nathan Deal's request for a disaster declaration, according to the Governor's Office. President Obama approved in for 39 counties in Georgia that saw damage in the Feb. 10 through Feb. 14 winter storm.

The declaration approval makes the state eligible for the federal government to cover 75 percent of the damage costs.

Here is a list of the 39 counties eligible for assistance:
Baldwin, Bulloch, Burke, Butts, Candler, Carroll, Columbia, Coweta, Dade, Emanuel, Fayette, Fulton, Gilmer, Glascock, Hancock, Haralson, Heard, Jasper, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Jones, Lamar, McDuffie, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Pickens, Pike, Richmond, Screven, Spalding, Upson, Walker, Warren, Washington, Whitfield and Wilkes counties.

Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Dawson, DeKalb, Forsyth, Paulding, Polk and White counties were included in Deal’s request but not granted approval.

(Copyright 2014. The Associated Press.)


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