‘Disaster Declaration' Following Dallas Tornado in Doubt

Millions of dollars in federal disaster relief following Dallas' October tornado is now in limbo.

A "Presidential Disaster Declaration" hinges on the validation of $38.5 million in uninsured losses, and according to a Federal Emergency Management Administration tally, only $33 million in losses have so far been validated in North Texas.

The city of Dallas and Dallas County have until Dec. 20 to submit further losses before FEMA will make a recommendation to President Donald Trump regarding whether a "disaster declaration" should be issued.

The $38.5 million threshold is determined by a state's population, and as such California and Texas have the two highest thresholds.

If a disaster declaration is not issued, uninsured expenses facing the city and county would fall back on local tax payers.

"Money is finite, I'm committed to not raising taxes, but if I have to use your tax dollars on this then that's dollars I can't use on you for something else," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. "It is a concern that the way things are now we could end up short of the threshold."

The city and county told NBC 5 they remain in close contact with FEMA. In a statement, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson's office said in part, "We continue to work with FEMA officials to provide documentation and information that they have requested. We remain hopeful that the city will receive federal assistance for our recovery efforts."

The Dallas Independent School District said it would also be negatively impacted. Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said the district's $2 million deductible would have to come out of district coffers if a declaration was not issued.

"Those are things we could have spent on teachers and supplies," Hinojosa said. "It would have an impact on the operations of the school district."

Nim Kidd, Texas' Chief of Emergency Management told NBC 5 over the phone Tuesday that he believed Dallas and Dallas County have crossed the threshold for a "disaster declaration."

"It's a technicality in the halls of FEMA," Kidd said. "I side with the city and county and believe they have exceeded the demonstrated threshold."

If the threshold is not met, Trump could still opt to issue a "disaster declaration," but such a scenario would be unusual, according to state officials.

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