Augusta, ME, -- When local and state financial resources are exhausted in a disaster situation, the governor of a state may seek a Presidential declaration and request federal help.
That's what Maine Governor Angus King did, and on May 16 President George W. Bush declared three counties of the state eligible for Public Assistance. That meant that government entities in Franklin, Oxford and York counties could apply for reimbursement for extra costs incurred and to repair or replace structures damaged in the severe winter storms and flooding of March 6--31. Kennebec, Penobscot and Washington counties were added June 8.
Shapleigh, ME, June 15, 2001 -- The pile of rubble in the foreground is all that is left of the Maine Department of Transportation's winter salt shed on Route 111 in Shapleigh. MDOT High Maintenance Engineer Brian Pickard explains to Joe Albert, public assistance officer for the Maine Emergency Management Agency, that this was once the shed's floor. FEMA News Photo.
As a result the State of Maine is seeking help to rebuild a Department of Transportation salt shed here. Under the Public Assistance program, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would pay 75 per cent of the uninsured costs with the state paying the remaining 25 per cent. The original shed, built in 1976, was demolished when heavy snows collapsed the roof during the severe storms of last March.
"We had to tear the whole building down," said Brian Pickard, a highway maintenance engineer with MDOT. "It was cheaper than trying to repair it.
"There was the possibility of asbestos in the shingles and so we had to dispose of them as hazardous waste. We did away with the wood, tore down the concrete walls, even ripped up the asphalt floor."
All that is left is a pile of rubble that was once that floor.
Shapleigh, ME, June 15, 2001 -- Though it has withstood the rigors of 25 previous winters, the MDOT salt shed could not handle this spring's heavy snowfalls. The Department of Transportation has filed a request with the Maine Emergency Management Agency for a federal grant to help replace the shed. Photo courtesy of Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT)
Pickard pointed that out to state and federal officials who recently inspected the site in response to the DOT's request for assistance. Paul Murphy, FEMA Public Assistance Officer, was on hand along with Joe Albert who heads the state Public Assistance program at the Maine Emergency Management Agency, and FEMA engineer Bill Brierly.
The Shapleigh salt shed is but one of scores of projects currently being considered in 78 towns in the six counties. A single community may be seeking assistance for literally dozens of structures, plus reimbursement for the added overtime and equipment rental caused by the March storms. Initial Requests for Public Assistance in York County were filed at an applicants briefing set up in Alfred by York County Emergency Management Director Robert C. Bohlmann.
"A large share of Public Assistance funds go for roads and bridges," Albert said. "These ca...