$163,000 in tornado funding for Shiawassee County passes Senate

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LANSING (WJRT) (6/11/2019) - The Michigan Senate followed the House's lead in passing $163,000 in tornado relief funding for 13 agencies in Shiawassee County.

The Senate's vote on Tuesday sends the legislation, which is part of a larger supplemental appropriations bill, to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her signature.

The money would reimburse public safety agencies, which spent large portions of their annual budgets in the days after the tornadoes.

Two tornadoes cut a path from eastern Shiawassee County into north central Genesee County on March 14, causing about $6 million in damage.

The tornadoes damaged 94 homes, four businesses, 16 barns and several vehicles in Shiawassee County. Vernon, Venice and Shiawassee townships were the hardest hit.

Shiawassee County leaders requested a State of Emergency from Whitmer, which would have automatically allowed additional state relief funding. But Whitmer denied the request, saying local agencies were not overtaxed by the disaster.

“When we toured the storm damage the next day, we could already see neighbors helping neighbors as people came together in the wake of tremendous loss,” said State Sen. Tom Barrett of Charlotte. “I encourage the governor to help the people of Shiawassee County recover by approving this financial relief.”

If Whitmer signs the spending bill into law, Barrett said Shiawassee County agencies set to receive funding could get a check in a couple weeks.