State Sen. Jon Bumstead issued the following statement on Tuesday encouraging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to reconsider disaster relief funding for Newaygo County:
“On March 14, Newaygo County began experiencing heavy rainfall and major flooding, which caused extensive damage to public and private property across the county. The widespread flooding generated an immediate threat to public safety. Within a week, 33 roadways were extensively damaged, and 11 culverts had failed. Major damage also occurred to parks, dams, and wastewater treatment facilities throughout the county.
“Extensive repair costs have severely impacted the current budget for the Newaygo County Road Commission. The commission estimates it is currently 30% over the current year budget. As of now, the county has spent $335,723 to repair damages caused by the widespread flooding, and they estimate an additional $100,000 in unknown and unaccounted costs. Due to the harsh winter and unforeseen natural disasters, the county has spent $725,582 more in comparison to this time last year.
“The state can provide financial assistance during times of disaster or emergency, but Governor Gretchen Whitmer has denied supplemental funding for Newaygo County. I ask the governor to reconsider her decision due to the extensive response and repair costs sustained by the Newaygo County Road Commission, and the continued threat that these damages pose to public safety.
“Because the budget for the Newaygo County Road Commission has been severely impacted by these costs, very little money remains while numerous roads across the county are still in disrepair. The governor has repeatedly spoken about the need to adequately fund and repair our roads, but Newaygo County will be another year behind schedule without this assistance.
“Newaygo County Emergency Services and the Newaygo County Road Commission have done an excellent job protecting the health and property of residents, but additional repair costs remain. Supplemental funding would help offset the emergency protective measures used during the flooding.
“I hope that Governor Whitmer will reconsider her decision to deny Newaygo County supplemental disaster funding so repairs from the widespread flooding can be completed.”