Disaster Declaration Approved for Five Vermont Counties
Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today announced that President Donald Trump has signed a major disaster declaration for Chittenden, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange and Orleans counties. Those counties suffered substantial damage during severe storms on May 4 & 5 of this year.
A Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) identified almost $1.3 million in public infrastructure damage statewide from the May 4-5 storms, exceeding the $1 million minimum Vermont must show to be considered for a disaster declaration.
Chittenden, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange and Orleans counties each exceeded the $3.68 per capita threshold needed to qualify communities and public utilities in those counties for assistance. A preponderance of the damage involved washouts, debris removal and power restoration.
The Public Assistance disaster declaration allows municipalities and qualifying non-profits like public utilities in those counties to receive 75 percent federal reimbursement for storm response and recovery. Those costs include power restoration, debris removal, and repairs to public roads, bridges, and other infrastructure with damage resulting from the storm.
“I want to thank our State and Federal partners for moving swiftly to respond to the early May storm. This disaster funding will help communities in these counties with repairs and to strengthen infrastructure to better prevent damage moving forward,” said Scott. “Being able to respond quickly is critical for our towns and cities, as we saw earlier this month when we worked to get the Colchester Causeway into South Hero reopened in time for summer tourism season. While we had a positive outcome with that project, I’m pleased to receive this Federal funding, so we can work to make our infrastructure more resilient to storms in the future.”
Municipal leaders should start the process for seeking federal assistance by attending one of the upcoming applicant briefings, which will be announced soon by Vermont Emergency Management. The briefings will outline the requirements for receiving federal awards and maximizing eligibility of repairs. Vermont Emergency Management, Agency of Transportation District personnel and FEMA will guide towns through the application process.
The declaration also includes funds from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) for towns, state agencies and approved non-profit organizations statewide. This program provides funding for a variety of mitigation activities, including home buyouts, structural elevations, flood proofing and public infrastructure upgrades for roads, bridges and culverts in vulnerable locations. Information on the Public Assistance process and how municipalities can apply is available at: http://vem.vermont.gov/funding/pa