Seven Vermont counties now eligible for federal aid

REGION – Governor Phil Scott announced the major disaster declaration he requested for Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Orange, Rutland, Washington, and Windsor Counties has been signed by the President. These seven counties suffered substantial damage by flooding between June 29 and July 1, 2017.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance disaster declaration allows communities and public utilities in those counties to receive 75 percent federal reimbursement for storm response and recovery, including costs for debris removal and repairs to public roads, bridges, and other infrastructure with damage resulting from the storm.

“This declaration will provide much-needed financial relief for the communities that that were affected and continue to have significant cleanup and repairs to complete after this storm,” said Scott. “I commend the local and state officials and work crews for their recovery efforts, and thank our federal partners, including FEMA and the White House staff for their responsiveness.”

A Preliminary Damage Assessment by FEMA, which started on July 12, identified $4.7 million in public infrastructure damage, far exceeding the $1 million minimum Vermont must show to be considered for a disaster declaration. Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Orange, Rutland, Washington, and Windsor Counties each exceeded the $3.61 per capita threshold needed to qualify cities and towns in those counties for assistance. The damages identified in the PDA are only a partial accounting of the total damages suffered from the storm and the final tally will likely be higher.

The declaration also includes funds from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for towns, state agencies, and approved nonprofit organizations statewide. This program provides funding for a variety of mitigation activities, including home buyouts, structural elevations, flood proofing and public infrastructure upgrades for roads, bridges and culverts in vulnerable locations.

For town leaders seeking more information on the process, please visit vem.vermont.gov/funding/pa.

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