Funds to help counties deal with freeze-up a start

It appears state and federal governments are coming through with some assistance for counties that suffered during the deep freeze of the winter of 2013-14.

Gov. Rick Snyder announced this week that nine counties in northern Michigan, including six in the Upper Peninsula, will be able to receive up to $6 million in aid.

Included are Marquette, Chippewa, Delta, Gogebic, Luce and Mackinac in the U.P., as well as Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties downstate.

The funds are coming from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grants program.

The news was welcomed by local officials, who have been pleading with state and federal politicians for assistance in dealing with the problems caused by prolonged cold spells last winter.

While pleased that some funding coming is from the feds through the state, local officials were quick to add that the amount of funding is significantly less than the damage that occurred.

In the nine counties that are able to apply for a portion of the $6 million, there was about $19.3 million in damage, according to the counties’ estimates. Marquette County officials said there was $6.5 million in the county alone.

We agree with local officials that the recently announced financial aid is a step in the right direction, and we also wholeheartedly support efforts to secure additional funds to help local governments deal with the damage.