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MSP explains why they denied Portland aid for flooding

Posted at 8:18 PM, Nov 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-04 20:58:17-05

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State Police is explaining why they denied the city of Portland financial aid twice after the flooding and ice jams back in February.

State officials met with Portland's City Manager, Tutt Gorman at their Dimondale headquarters Monday to answer any of the city's questions.

Both sides agreed that there needs to be further clarification on the rules for emergency funding, but they disagreed on how the rules were interpreted and applied.

Gorman is standing firm in his opinion that state police didn't properly apply the criteria to determine if the city is eligible for emergency funding.

"There was some clarity on how MSP is currently interpreting those rules and in my opinion that's just not in accordance with the existing rules," he said.

State police previously denied Portland's request for money. They said that the city didn't exhaust all of its local resources.

"'Exhausting resources' means bringing in resources from another area like a mutual aid or something like that. When that builds up, that shows us that there has been an exhaustion of your resources," said Capt. Emmitt Mcgowan, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division.

Mcgowan said that Portland didn't meet those criteria. He admits that the city did have a financial burden, but didn't have any unmet needs not addressed by the state.

"They utilized 7% of the general operating budget of 2019. That's an impact to any jurisdiction but it's not exhaustion or an overwhelming amount to your budget," McGowan said.

Some jurisdictions that got funding in the past used 13-50% of their general funds on the emergency.

Portland was at 12% for the tornado in 2015 and they granted funding.

Gorman disagreed with the assessment that the city wasn't overwhelmed from the flooding, but he hopes the process will be different going forward.

"I believe the governor's office will be involved as well as far as appointing some type of advisory committee to look at the rules to provide clarification."

Mcgowan did admit state police could do a better job of interpreting the rules and making sure everyone understands why a decision was made.

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