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Vermont Receives Disaster Declaration for July 29-30 Storms

President Joseph Biden has signed a Major Disaster declaration for public infrastructure damage caused by severe storms and flooding from July 29-30, 2021. The declaration will provide federal assistance for repairs to public infrastructure in Bennington and Windham counties. 
 
Vermont officials have identified more than $5 million in damages to public infrastructure as a result of the storm in those two counties. Municipalities and qualifying non-profits like public utilities in Bennington and Windham counties are eligible to receive 75% federal reimbursement for storm response and recovery. Those costs include repairs to public roads, bridges, and other infrastructure that was damaged during the storm, as well as removal of debris from public rights of way. 
 
“We’re grateful for the help coming our way, as it will significantly lessen the financial impact of this storm on towns in Bennington and Windham counties,” said Governor Phil Scott. “This declaration also provides an opportunity to rebuild more strategically to avoid future damage, thanks to additional Hazard Mitigation grant money.” 
 
A Public Assistance disaster declaration also includes funds from the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. That program provides funds for any Vermont city or town to make improvements to roads, riverbeds, and other projects to increase the resilience to flooding and other hazards in a particular area.
 
“Due to previously awarded hazard mitigation funding and this new disaster declaration, Vermont is now in a unique position to spend millions of dollars in federal grants to harden our infrastructure to protect life and property from the impact of future disasters,” Vermont Emergency Management Director Erica Bornemann said. “This is the time for towns to think big and make lasting changes to public infrastructure that will protect lives and cut the cost of future disaster recovery.” 
 
Municipal leaders in Bennington and Windham counties can begin the process to apply for reimbursement for damages from the July storm by attending an upcoming applicant briefing, which will outline the requirements for receiving federal awards and maximizing eligibility of repairs. Those meetings will be held in Manchester, in or around Brattleboro, and on-line. Please monitor email, social media, the press, and the Vermont Emergency Management website for an update on when those meetings will be held.