(Crystal A. Proxmire, 10/07/2011)
The City of Ferndale was among four cities denied storm cleanup funds for the damage caused by high winds and fallen trees over Labor Day Weekend. On September 8, 2011 Mayor Dave Coulter signed a declaration saying Ferndale was in a state of emergency, which is one of the requirements for a Homeland Security natural disaster grant.
Hazel Park, Pleasant Ridge and Madison Heights also applied for grants. Each city worked with a representative at Oakland County Homeland Security, who facilitated the application process on behalf of the State of Michigan. None of the cities received funds.
City Manager April McGrath said that the City’s request for funding was denied because “the magnitude of the damage was not large enough, and because they felt like everything had already been taken care of.” The storm knocked out power through much of the city, and kept City officials busy working on ways to deal with the dangerously hanging tree branches, property damage, trees across roads, and emergency communications issues that arose by residents not having power.
“They[Oakland County Homeland Security] mentioned that they were pleased with how we handled things in Ferndale,” McGrath said. “Everyone worked together and our cleanup was organized.”
The storm hit during McGrath’s first few weeks as City Manager, giving her an opportunity to use her leadership and crisis management skills right off the bat. “It was a bit of a long shot applying for assistance, but we had to try,” she said. “And now that we have been through the process, we will be even more prepared if another disaster strikes.”
All-in-all the cleanup efforts are estimated to total over $100,000 that the City is going to bear sole responsibility for.