MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Local government leaders may take another step Monday to get federal money to pay for tornado damage in Mobile.
Mobile County Commissioners have an item on the agenda for their next meeting to asking Governor Robert Bentley to combine the damage from caused by two December tornado outbreaks as one disaster event.
Officials hope that will make it more likely to get federal emergency assistance for tornadoes that struck on December 20 as well as Christmas Day 2012.
Mayor Jones said, "We've had a conference call with the Emergency Management Agency in Montgomery, who basically has to make requests to FEMA that has to go through the Governor. So we can go to them and, then, they have to go to FEMA."
The mayor said state officials haven't made a decision on asking FEMA for a disaster declaration, because they're checking on whether the damage meets certain thresholds, like the number of uninsured residents affected.
Jones said, in the meantime, "they're talking to other groups, other religious groups, who really help in disasters."
"They're talking to private organizations that help in disasters, and they're talking to people throughout the state, as well as in other parts of the country, who may want to come in and try to assist some of our residents who've been devastated, who don't have the means or didn't have insurance to cover their own loss," he said.
Another group hoping to get money is the Mobile County Public School System.
Administrators said insurance alone won't be enough to pay for restoring Murphy High School, which had several buildings all but destroyed by the tornado.
School system officials said they've already spoken with area legislators in hopes of getting money appropriated to help restore the buildings damaged by the weather when the state legislature convenes next month. Design work for the historic high school must be approved by the state.
MCPSS Facilities Director Tommy Sheffield said, "It appears right now, as of today, FEMA is not going to accept us, or approve us as a qualified claim applicant, so, if FEMA does not say we're even eligible, we have no one to lean on but the state of Alabama."
Monday, the director of the Alabama Building Commission and the State Department of Education architect are scheduled to tour the school and assess the damage, as well as possible repairs.
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