Emergency aid should help more than Marquette

Last week Governor Snyder declared a “state of emergency for Marquette County, making it eligible for state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts. The emergency state, according to the governor was declared because the “record breaking winter has severely crippled the water and sewer infrastructure of Marquette County.”

Snyder went on to commend public works personnel who worked “around the clock thawing and repairing water and sewer mains.”

The answer to Marquette County’s request for such a declaration came more than a month after the request was made. It makes Marquette County, the only county in the U.P. worthy of the disaster declaration.

Almost immediately State Rep. Scott Diana, D-Calumet, got into the act by introducing a bill which would provide $10 million appropriations supplement for the eight Counties that declared a state of emergency.

While we applaud the governor for his action in Marquette County, and look for action from either him, or via Dianda’s supplemental bill, we can’t help but feel a segment of the population is being ignored through all this … namely homeowners.

While it is true municipalities incurred higher than normal expenses this winter because of freezing water mains and excessive snow removal, they weren’t alone in their suffering.

Homeowners, already facing increased costs of nearly every type of heating fuel, were in many cases left on their own to bear the brunt of frozen pipes.

In the City of Houghton, for example, while the city helped provide information on firms who thawed frozen pipes, the homeowners themselves were responsible for the $250 and up fees to have water restored.

True, the winter was tough on our counties, cities, villages and township. Many had to deal with increased cost in light of dwindling revenue sharing. But we are concerned the winter also placed financial hardships on property owners including landlords and we hope Lansing doesn’t overlook what so many have gone through.