Gov. Shumlin: Vermont Granted Federal Disaster Declaration
MONTPELIER – Jan. 30, 2014 -- Gov. Peter Shumlin announced that President Barack Obama has signed a major disaster declaration for Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, and Orleans counties, in Vermont for public infrastructure damage suffered in December’s ice storm.
The declaration allows communities and municipal and COOP utilities in those counties to receive 75 percent reimbursement for debris removal and repairs to the power grid, public roads, bridges, and other infrastructure damaged during the storm.
The Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security will begin the application process with mandatory applicants’ briefings on February 6 and 11. The briefings will outline the requirements for receiving federal awards and maximizing eligibility of repairs. Briefings will be held at the following locations:
Thursday, February 6, 10:00 a.m.: Enosburgh, Enosburgh Emergency Services Building, 84 Sampsonville Road (VT Route 105)
- Thursday, February 6, 1:30 p.m.: Hyde Park, Green Mountain Technical Center, Community Education Center Room, 738 VT Route 15 West
- Tuesday, February 11, 10:00 a.m.: Lyndonville, Lyndonville Public Safety Building, 316 Main Street
“This declaration is critical in assisting communities hit by ice storm to recover some of the extensive costs of cleanup and power restoration,” Gov. Shumlin said. He thanked Vermont’s Congressional delegation for their assistance, as well. “The utilities spent millions on this storm, and this helps ensure their ratepayers won’t have to cover the full costs of that effort.”
“The greatest cost was the more than $7 million in restoration costs for those utilities, which are eligible for reimbursement,” Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Director Joe Flynn said. “Several communities spent significant amounts of money clearing debris and fallen trees in public and utility rights of way. We’re pleased and thankful for the federal declaration to help ease the financial burden on the public.”
A preliminary damage assessment started on Jan. 2 identified more than $3 million in damages in Vermont’s seven northern counties during the ice storm. The seven counties showed more than the minimum of $3.50 per capita required to receive a declaration. Actual damages in the state and counties are clearly much higher, damage assessments are designed to only show enough financial injury to qualify for a declaration.
Communities and municipal and COOP utilities will be reimbursed for equipment rentals (and fuel for that equipment), the cost of contractor assistance, employee overtime tied directly to storm response and restoration, and other eligible expenses.
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