The Trump Administration denied the federal declaration of Murray County as a disaster site in response to the tornadoes that struck on Easter. Murray Commissioner Greg Hogan tells the Chattanooga Times-Free Press that the damage suffered in Murray County didn’t meet the minimum threshold of $7 million to be declared a federal disaster area.
Hogan said the estimated value of destroyed and damaged property did not reach the minimal level of $7 million to qualify for the federal government to help.
Dewayne Bain, emergency management director for Murray County, said a total of 254 homes and buildings were affected, including 62 that were totally destroyed and 36 that had major damage. Bain said the tax assessor is compiling a list to get a full financial damage report.
The Trump administration declared a federal disaster in Hamilton, Bradley, and six other counties in Tennessee as the total cost of damage is between $200-300 million with over 1,000 structures damaged and at least 344 structures completely destroyed.
“That’s a lot of the issue, those million-dollar homes, when they get blown away it adds up in a hurry,” [Hogan] said. “I’m glad they’re getting the help. But some of the people down here didn’t even have insurance. It’s a shame.”
The areas affected by an EF-3 tornado on Easter night are more affluent and are more likely to have homeowner’s insurance. Although there were more structures damaged, the property values of the area Contrast that with the areas in Murray County.
Murray County has thirty days to appeal the decision and, Senator Kelly Loefller’s office has reached out to Commissioner Hogan to have people apply directly to FEMA and GEMA for assistance grants according to the Times-Free Press.