PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- Briefings for local government officials to explain the process of applying for federal disaster assistance for snow removal expenditures incurred in the wake of the December severe snow storms have begun, according to officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
President Bush's January 15 emergency declaration designated 35 counties in Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire that experienced record or near-record snowfall. The federal assistance covers funding of 75 percent of the eligible costs for emergency snow removal following the record snowfall that struck Connecticut December 5-7 and the other three states on December 6-7. Local officials are eligible to apply for financial assistance for snow removal expenditures incurred during a 48-hour period as selected by the applicant.
"These briefings are designed to help local officials understand eligibility requirements and the reimbursement process," James N. Russo, Federal Coordinating Officer for the four New England emergencies, said. "But we also have a responsibility to ensure that federal, state and local dollars are used appropriately."
The 35 New England counties eligible for snow removal financial assistance are:
Connecticut - Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, New Haven, Tolland, Windham.
Maine - Aroostook, Cumberland, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset.
Massachusetts - Barnstable, Berkshire, Bristol, Essex, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, Worcester.
New Hampshire - Belknap, Carroll, Cheshire, Coos, Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Sullivan.
Local officials have been advised of meeting dates and locations. For schedules and details contact the local emergency management office.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.