Governor Phil Scott Requests Federal Disaster Funds to Assist Communities in Bennington and Windham Counties
Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott has made a formal request for federal disaster funds to assist communities in Bennington and Windham counties in paying for repairs to public infrastructure damaged in floods of July 29 and 30, 2021. Local and state officials estimate communities in those counties suffered more than $4 million in damages to public infrastructure.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted a preliminary damage assessment with state and local officials shortly after the storm to verify indicators at the state and county level were met to allow the request to move forward. The State must demonstrate disaster costs exceed $1 million statewide, in addition to county-level indicators, along with details about the overall impact of the storm. Per operating procedure, FEMA validates damage estimates in select towns only until county and state indicators for assistance are met.
“Many communities impacted by these storms were left with repair costs that far exceed their annual road maintenance budgets,” said Governor Scott. “This is an area of our state that has felt the impacts of storms of all sizes over the past year, and without federal assistance, they will be left with another bill that will impact its residents for some time.”
A Major Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance, if granted, would allow communities in declared counties to receive 75% reimbursement for storm response and recovery. Those costs include repairs to public roads, bridges, and other infrastructure that was damaged during the storm.
Governor Scott’s request was sent to FEMA for review. FEMA will send a recommendation to President Biden, who has ultimate authority to approve or reject the request.
Communities in Bennington and Windham counties should continue making repairs to public infrastructure, documenting all work carefully for possible future reimbursement. Eligible reimbursement costs include repair work on public roads and buildings, tree and debris removal from public rights of way, municipal employee time spent working on recovery, contractor help, equipment rentals, and other costs associated with the storm.
The declaration request also seeks funds from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). The federal HMGP program provides funding based on a formula of 15% of the total federal Public Assistance. That funding can be used to provide 75% reimbursement for projects anywhere in the state that reduce the likelihood of damages to public infrastructure in future disasters.