Wolf to seek federal help for local flash flood ‘disaster’

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette What is left of the decking to the bridge that crossed Wallis Run on Wallis Run Road lies in the middle of the Loyalsock Creek with heavy erosion along the shore line.

After damages for the Oct. 21 flash flood were estimated at $33.2 million, Gov. Tom Wolf has requested federal funds through two disaster declarations, he announced Wednesday.

“We’ve worked closely with local, county and state partners on multiple damage assessments, and we are confident that we meet the federal criteria for both declarations,” Wolf said.

One declaration will request funds from the president through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Bradford, Centre, Lycoming and Sullivan counties and the other will be sent through the U.S. Small Business Administration for Lycoming and Centre counties.

“These two programs are the best options available to provide financial assistance to both local governments and citizens who have been impacted by this flooding,” Wolf said.

Should Wolf’s request be approved, affected individuals could be reimbursed up to 75 percent for the costs of eligible expenses.

For the FEMA declaration, eligible expenses include costs associated with paying overtime, repairs to damaged infrastructure, equipment rentals, materials, search and rescue operations, and opening and operating shelters. The funds also would be available to local, county and state governments, as well as certain eligible non-profits.

The small business declaration would provide low-interest loans to homeowners, renters and businesses with uninsured losses of 40 percent or more of their estimated fair market value. According to the administration, at least 25 potential applicants sustained eligible losses in Lycoming and Centre counties.

Wolf added that the total cost may fluctuate as applications for assistance are reviewed at both the state and federal levels. It is not known when the president will decide to grant or deny disaster assistance.