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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Vermont Requests Federal Disaster Declaration

MONTPELIER – On Friday Gov. Peter Shumlin made a formal request for a federal disaster declaration for Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, and Orleans counties for public infrastructure damage suffered in December’s ice storm.

The Public Assistance disaster declaration, if granted, would allow communities and public utilities in those counties to receive at least 75% reimbursement for debris removal and repairs to the power grid, public roads, bridges, and other infrastructure that was damaged during the storm.

The request was sent to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for review. FEMA will then send a recommendation to President Barack Obama, who will have ultimate authority to approve or reject the request.

A Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) started on Jan. 2 identified more than $3 million in damages in Vermont during the ice storm. The state must only show $1 million in damages to qualify for a declaration. The seven counties also showed more than the minimum of $3.50 per capita in damage costs required to be included in a declaration. The damages identified in the PDA are only a partial accounting of the total suffered in the ice storm. The final tally will likely be higher.

If the disaster declaration is granted, communities and public utilities will be reimbursed for 75% of the cost of eligible work. Eligible expenses include equipment rentals (and fuel for that equipment), the cost of contractor assistance, employee overtime tied directly to storm response and restoration, and other expenses.

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