Durbin meets with DiCianni, inspects flood damage

Elmhurst Press
August 2, 2010
By: Dave Matthews

Elmhurst, IL — Mayor Pete DiCianni and other area mayors have reached out to Senator Dick Durbin in an attempt to secure federal relief after flooding submerged much of the western suburbs in July.

The meeting with Durbin and officials from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security, and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District began at 9:45 a.m. Monday at Elmhurst City Hall.

DiCianni said he reached out to Durbin after the flooding and arranged the meeting with local leaders from 13 other municipalities including Westchester, Villa Park, Bellwood and Carol Stream.

"Most of these mayors had 60 percent of their towns, 70 percent affected," DiCianni said. "It was great to have the Majority Whip of the Senate from Illinois come to our town to talk to all the mayors."

Durbin and DiCianni then met with some of the worst-hit victims in Elmhurst on the 700 block of Washington Street.

DiCianni said Elmhurst has already submitted its Initial Damage Assessments from residents to IEMA, who then have to appeal to FEMA. President Barack Obama would then have to sign a declaration of emergency before federal relief is delivered.

"We're going to keep pushing the envelope, we got the leadership engaged in the federal level, we all know leadership drives policy," DiCianni said. "Hopefully the President from Illinois who cares a lot about this state ... will seek a response and sign a declaration here in the next 7-10 days."

Durbin spokesperson Christina Angarola said the meeting was informational in nature, with the senator describing the process for federal relief to municipal leaders.

Angarola said Durbin would eventually lobby the entire congressional delegation from Illinois to sign a letter to Obama should the state of Illinois prove that it cannot muster its own relief funds. She expects a request for FEMA relief by the end of the week.

Durbin has successfully secured federal relief funds for 12 separate incidents in Illinois since 2005.