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Snow plows
City of Bloomington snow plows ran three wide while clearing snow from Madison Street in downtown Bloomington on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011. The prediction of an extra-ordinary snow event sent city crews into a maximum effort to keep up with the blizzard. (The Pantagraph, David Proeber)

BLOOMINGTON -- McLean and Livingston counties have been added to the list of counties receiving federal assistance to help recoup some of the costs involved with a major snowstorm Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.

Gov. Pat Quinn's office announced Monday the federal government approved the state's request for assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency for McLean, Livingston, Grundy, Sangamon and Stephenson counties.

FEMA previously approved reimbursement for 75 percent of eligible storm-related expenses, including snow removal, for 60 Illinois counties. Applications for McLean, Livingston and the other four counties for the money were sent to FEMA by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency on April 8.

The 75 percent reimbursement was good news to municipalities and other government entities that have faced three years with a lot of snow to plow.

"It's found money," said Normal City Manager Mark Peterson.

Normal spent about $148,000 on snow removal during the Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 storm. Peterson said it was a "huge, unforeseen expense." The reimbursement will go into the town's general fund and be used to help with this year's winter expenses or help the general fund balance.

The reimbursement for Bloomington's $162,000 also will go back into the city coffers, said Finance Director Tim Ervin.

McLean County spent about $50,600 on snow removal during the three-day storm.

"We worked fairly long hours," said County Engineer Eric Schmitt. "The reimbursement will help us recoup some of the costs for overtime."

Schmitt said the money will go into the highway department fund and be used for road maintenance or other maintenance-related expenses.

Other townships and road districts in McLean County spent $1,000 to $13,000.

Livingston County townships and villages spent a total of $114,332, said Livingston County Planning Commission Administrator Chuck Schopp. The Livingston County Highway Department estimated it spent about $27,000 for snow removal, said Assistant County Engineer Clay Metcalf.

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