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— On Monday, Benton County officials sent in their last request for reimbursement to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"After we are reimbursed on this, we are finished with FEMA," county comptroller Richard McComas said.

After Benton County was declared a federal disaster area in the wake of January's ice storm, it was determined FEMA would reimburse the county 75 percent of all approved expenses related to the storm's cleanup. The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management is scheduled to reimburse the county an additional 12.5 percent of the funds FEMA approved.

Reimbursements from ADEM should arrive soon after the county receives its final reimbursement check from FEMA, McComas said.

"As far as collecting all of the money we are going to collect, I am hoping (we get it) before the end of the year," Mc-Comas said.

To date, the county has spent between $5.8 million and $5.9 million on cleaning up the debris left by the ice storm.

FEMA has reimbursed the county just more than $4.5 million. McComas said he expects ADEM to reimburse the county between $750,000 and $800,000.

"I am hoping to get our costs down to $400,000 to $500,000, McComas said, noting the county had anticipated to spend close to $750,000 on the cleanup.

A lawsuit filed by TNT Dirtworks demanding the county pay $1.4 million owed to it for work performed as a contractor during the ice storm is still looming. FEMA will not reimburse the county for the lawsuit should it lose, Kim Pease, a FEMA official, has previously said.

News, Pages 7 on 09/09/2009

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