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posted: 7/14/2012 8:00 AM

DuPage: Storm cleanup bill hits $3.1 million

But DuPage County's tally well short of the $17.3 million needed for federal relief

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DuPage County officials estimate cleanup costs related to the powerful July 1 storm will be at least $3.1 million.

But that amount falls significantly short of the $17.3 million threshold the county needed to reach to qualify for federal assistance. As a result, municipalities, townships and park districts in DuPage are stuck with the tab for their cleanup efforts.

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Crews have been busy clearing remaining debris from the storm that uprooted trees, knocked down power lines and damaged structures in portions of DuPage and Cook counties. It also left tens of thousands of residents without power for days.

While the cleanup still could take weeks to complete, local governments had until Friday afternoon to submit their cost estimates to the county.

David Gervino, emergency management coordinator for DuPage's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said 26 entities submitted information that officials had hoped would have allowed them to receive a reimbursement from the federal government.

"We did sustain quite a bit of damage," Gervino said.

However, only some expenses, such as overtime costs and payments made to contractors, could be counted in the estimate for federal assistance. Municipalities and townships weren't able submit figures for assistance they provided to another government entity. Damage covered by insurance also wasn't factored into the total.

West Chicago, one of the towns hardest hit, submitted the largest cost estimate of about $487,000. Knowing that federal assistance was unlikely, West Chicago officials have said they would tap the city's cash reserves to pay for the cleanup.

Other taxing bodies facing significant cleanup costs are Glen Ellyn ($329,834), Wheaton ($310,787) and West Chicago Park District ($305,000).

In the meantime, the task of cleaning up continues. Bloomingdale, for example, has wrapped up most of its cleanup on village property and is no longer contracting extra help. But the village is still collecting downed tree limbs and debris from residents who sustained property damage.

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