Governor Phil Scott today announced that President Donald Trump has declared a Major Disaster for Bennington, Essex, Orange, Rutland, Washington and Windsor counties. Those counties suffered substantial damage during severe storms and flooding on April 15 of this year.
A Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) identified more than $2 million in eligible public infrastructure damage statewide from the flooding, exceeding the $1 million minimum Vermont must demonstrate for a disaster declaration.
Bennington, Essex, Orange, Rutland, Washington and Windsor counties each exceeded the $3.78 per capita county indicator needed to qualify communities and public utilities in those counties for assistance. A preponderance of the damage involved severe washouts and debris removal.
The Major Disaster declaration allows municipalities and qualifying non-profits like public utilities in those counties to receive 75% federal reimbursement for storm response and recovery. Those costs include debris removal and repairs to public roads, bridges and other infrastructure with damage resulting from the storm.
“I want to thank our Federal partners for moving expeditiously to approve this disaster declaration,” said Governor Scott. “The areas of greatest impact included many small towns with limited transportation budgets. This will help them rebuild roads and other infrastructure without experiencing a long-term financial strain on their town budget.”
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 and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (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 program and how municipalities can apply is available at: http://vem.vermont.gov/funding/pa.