While Allen County officials are seeking state and federal reimbursement for tax-funded cleanup work after Friday's storm, individual homeowners also could qualify for assistance.
The state Department of Homeland Security is asking residents affected by the storm to fill out an online damage assessment that could lead to a federal disaster declaration and money for those hit hardest.
Depending on the amount of property damage in Allen County, state officials could ask President Obama for a disaster declaration. State and federal officials would then inspect damaged properties to find out if the community needs help recovering from the storm.
A disaster declaration aiding local government cleanup efforts would require at least $1.2 million in damage at the county level and more than $7 million across the state. But aid for property owners would depend more on case-by-case damage assessments than on a total dollar amount, said John Erickson, a spokesman for the state Department of Homeland Security.
“It's more, can the community recover on its own or does it need state and federal assistance,” Erickson said.
Homeowners can fill out the online damage report at the state Department of Homeland Security's website, in.gov/dhs.
At Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry's request, the Allen County Commissioners this week also requested a separate disaster declaration that would reimburse local governments for cleanup efforts. Commissioner Nelson Peters said county officials believe local damage will far exceed $1.2 million. The commissioners' declaration of a local state of emergency was the first step toward getting state and federal help for governments and homeowners.
An estimated 30,000 Fort Wayne households remained without power Tuesday afternoon, according to Indiana Michigan Power. Friday's storm produced wind gusts up to 91 mph and knocked out power to more than 80,000 of I&M's customers in the Fort Wayne area.
I&M estimated it would have power restored to 80 percent of its Fort Wayne area customers by late Wednesday, while the remaining outages would be fixed sometime this weekend.
City officials said more than 500 trees and thousands of tree limbs were toppled in the storm, along with 60 street light poles. The city posted a map to its website Tuesday showing when workers would pick up debris around town.
Residents should leave debris on the curb for pickup and not in alleys, the city said in a news release.