ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. -- With the signing of the Federal -State agreement between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State of Vermont last week, the federal government can obligate funds to assist communities in repairing public facilities damaged by Tropical Storm Floyd in September.
Municipal, county and state governmental agencies, and certain qualifying non-profit organizations in Bennington, Caledonia, Essex, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington, Windham and Windsor counties may qualify for assistance for such things as road washouts, culvert replacements and debris removal.
The program is administered by the state with the federal government paying 75 per cent of the cost with the state and local community sharing the remainder.
Federal-state teams are currently in the field helping those communities complete applications for recovery projects. So far, 46 requests for assistance have been received according to Sonia Peters, Vermont Public Assistance Coordinator. Communities have until Dec. 10 to file a request for assistance.
"We are placing strong emphasis on designing repair projects to reduce or prevent similar damage in future storms," said Paul Murphy, FEMA Public Assistance Officer. "It saves taxpayer dollars to spend a little more money now to save a lot of money in the future."
Project Impact was initiated two years ago to promote public awareness, to develop "disaster-resistant communities" by enlisting everything from individuals through businesses to entire states, and to plan for damage prevention instead of damage replacement. "This is why hazard mitigation is a consideration in the development of every project," said Peters.
Hazard mitigation is not limited to the 10 counties President William Clinton declared as disaster areas as a result of the heavy rains, high winds and flooding from Sept. 16-21. Any community may seek assistance through a hazard mitigation grant.