Springfield, MA - Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and disaster officials from four New England states have begun work with local governments to ensure an efficient reimbursement of federal funds as a result of President Bush?s March 11 emergency declarations to provide financial aid to communities in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts following last month's heavy winter storms.
State and federal officials began holding information briefings Tuesday for eligible community officials and representatives from certain private non-profit organizations.
The officials will be available in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine for briefings to answer any questions that local officials may have about the assistance program, explain what community costs are eligible and discuss how those costs should be submitted for reimbursement. They will also provide information on reporting equipment and personnel data and on payment procedures.
FEMA stressed the importance of communities' record keeping in this type of declaration where federal funds will reimburse specific local costs. "Having accurate, well-documented time records for equipment and personnel will speed up the reimbursement process," said James N. Russo, Federal Coordinating Officer for the four New England emergencies.
Various localities in four New England States were designated for federal assistance which will cover 75 percent of the eligible costs for emergency snow removal following the record snowfall which struck Maine February 2-4 and the other three states on February 17-18.
"By helping the communities with their emergency costs, we aid every taxpayer in that area," Russo said. "However, the emergency declarations do not cover expenses other than emergency snow removal expenses nor losses for individuals or business owners."
Under the presidential emergency declaration, affected local governments and approved applicants are eligible to apply for emergency snow removal costs, including equipment operations, sanding and salting, contract personnel and equipment, and overtime for permanent personnel.
"Community officials will be able to designate the continuous 48-hour period to be used for their respective emergency snow removal assistance," Russo said.
The eligible counties include: Connecticut - Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, Tolland, Windham counties; New Hampshire - Cheshire, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, Strafford counties; Maine - Aroostook County; Massachusetts - Barnstable, Berkshire, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex, Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, Worcester counties.