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Woodford Times - Peoria, IL
  • More state money coming for recovery

  • Gov. Pat Quinn, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka and area legislators appear Monday in Washington for bill signing.
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  • Illinois cities hit by the Nov. 17, 2013, tornadoes received $11.6 million in state aid, so far. 
    Gov. Pat Quinn, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka and area state legislators stopped in Washington Monday to tout the funds as well as hold a bill signing ceremony for tornado related legislation. 
    The city of Washington received about $7.7 million of the $11.6 million in state funds. 
    The money is part of a $45 million commitment in state funds to help the cities in nine Illinois counties recover from the November storms. Quinn announced the recovery package after FEMA funds were denied to Illinois cities. 
    “Gov. Quinn is living up to his word, he made a commitment to help us recover,” Washington Mayor Gary Manier said. “I don’t know if you are counting but this is the sixth time, he has been on (Washington) soil.”
    About $6.5 million is in Illinois Department of Transportation money the city has already received, said Manier. That money covers streets, sidewalks and curbs damaged in the tornado and by heavy trucks used in the recovery. 
    Another $1.2 million will be coming to the city likely this week. That will go toward the costs the city has incurred removing storm debris. So far the city estimates that it will incur about $12 million in costs related to the Nov. 17 tornado.
    Other area cities and boards receiving state tornado recovery funds are: Washington Community High School, $6,769; Washington Township Road District, $11,568; Washington Park District, $20,877; city of Pekin, $115,666 and the city of East Peoria, $268,393. 
    During the visit, Quinn and other state officials marveled at how much rebuilding has been done in Washington since the tornado. 
    “The resilience of this community is seen in its rebuilding,” said IEMA Director Jonathan Monken. “There were 1,108 homes damaged or destroyed in the tornado and so far more than 700 permits for reconstruction have been issued. That is amazing.”
    State Sen. Bill Brady, R- Bloomington, said there were more resources being made available by the state to help the cities hit by the Nov. 17 tornadoes recover. He also noted the bipartisan support of legislation related to the recovery. 
    “This is not a Republican or a Democrat issue,” Brady said. “This is where we just roll up our sleeves 
    and get to work helping.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Topinka also noted that Washington, D.C. could take a lesson from the legislators and state officials working on behalf of Washington, Ill. 
    Topkina applauded legislators’ efforts to put a law in place, Illinois Gives, that will allow state employees and retirees to donate money from their paychecks to the American Red Cross when a disaster strikes an Illinois community. 
    Topinka said the new processes puts the money in a dedicated “locked box” so there are no questions about where the money is going. 
    The new laws signed Monday in Washington and Gifford by Quinn are:
    • House Bill 4590, sponsored by state Rep. Chad Hays, R-Catlin, and Brady that creates the Illinois Gives Initiative that allows current and retired state employees to donate a portion of their paycheck or annuity to Illinois chapters of the American Red Cross whose territories are affected by disasters. The law is effective immediately. 
    • Senate Bill 2922, sponsored by state Sen. William Haine, D-Alton, and state Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, sets a limit of 10 percent on the amount of compensation an insurance adjuster may receive when representing a consumer in a claim resulting from a disaster. The law is effective Jan. 1, 2015.
    • Senate Bill 3259, sponsored by state Sen. Michael Frerichs, D-Champaign, and Hays, protects small businesses that rebuild after being affected by a disaster. The law slowly phases in property taxes over a 15-year period to prevent an immediate tax hike on the repaired or rebuilt business property. The new law is effective immediately.

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