Nine months have passed since Tropical Storm Irene blew through
Vermont, leaving a great deal of destruction and debris in its
wake. But now the Federal Emergency Management Agency money to
cover it is starting to come in.
"We have 50 projects we're applying for," Killington Town Manager
Seth Webb wrote in an e-mail. "We've submitted claims for 40 that
represent $2,058,440. Of 29 (projects) which have been reviewed, we
have received confirmation that we are eligible for $1,141,887
($978,760 is eligible for Federal reimbursement and $163,127 from
Vermont).Of that amount, we have received $144,251."
There may be more to come, Webb added: "Not all of the claims have
been reviewed by FEMA."
Chester Town Manager David Pisha said that new FEMA officials have
made reimbursement more complicated.
"They've switched field personnel," Pisha said. "That's always a
concern. When you have new people, you have new problems."
The money has not come in all at once, he said.
"It got off to a slow start," Pisha said.
FEMA spokesman Diego Alvarado said Vermont had been given $55.8
million so far.
"The money is granted to the state of Vermont, which in turn
subgrants it to the communities," Alvarado said. "There are more
funds left to be distributed. I'd say we are about 60 percent
For those communities who'd like to see it done a little faster,
Alvarado advised making sure the i's were dotted and the t's
"Communities should submit their documentation," he said. "That's
what will speed it along."
Over in Rochester, Town Clerk Joanne McDonnell said the town was
doing just that.
"There's a lot of paperwork," she said. "We've had $200,000 so far,
but we still have some large projects. A lot of our roads, like
Marsh Brook Road and Fisk Road, badly need work, and the River
Brook Drive bridge needs replacement. Everything in the town garage
floated away. We need at least $1 million, and the state has said
our share is $50,000 in the long run."
The state has not relied entirely on FEMA for its recovery efforts.
According to a statement from Gov. Peter Shumlin's office, the
transportation budget has gone up to a record $658 million, with
much of that going to road and bridge repair. A $500,000 tax credit
program was put in place to help restore businesses located in
historic downtowns damaged in the storm to re-open. Other measures
include covering the full cost of rebuilding for towns sustaining
the worst storm damage, providing half of the town match for
transportation costs generated by the storm, providing assistance
to removing destroyed mobile homes and ensured those located in
flood plains are able to move to a safer location through a buy-out
program in partnership with municipalities. The "Vermont Strong"
license plate program hopes raise $1 million to help Irene-stricken
More information on recovering from Tropical Storm Irene can be
found at http://vtstrong.vermont.gov.