Federal assessment for storm damage requested

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WATERBURY — Vermont Emergency Management (VEM) Director Erica Bornemann has requested a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to determine if the state qualifies for a federal public assistance disaster declaration following a winter storm and power outages that began Nov. 26. The request asks for assessments in Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Washington, and Windham counties.

Local, state, and federal officials will begin the assessments today.

To qualify for a declaration Vermont must show at least $1 million in response and public infrastructure recovery costs. Individual counties must also show public infrastructure damages and recovery costs of $3.78 per capita, which includes restoration expenses for public utilities. Preliminary estimates by the state indicate Vermont will exceed the $1 million threshold. FEMA must verify the damage before the governor can request a disaster declaration.

"The storm dropped several inches of snow in many areas of Vermont, snow that is often a welcome sight here," Bornemann said in a statement. "But as it piled up, the heavy snow took down trees all over the state, blocking roads and taking down power lines. Our initial assessment found many communities now have debris removal bills, and public utilities shouldering hefty power restoration costs."

Eligible reimbursement costs include repair work on public roads and buildings, tree and debris removal from public rights of way, municipal employee time spent working on recovery, contractor help, equipment rentals, and other costs

associated with the storm.

Crews keep moving in the course of their work so exact times and locations are difficult to determine ahead of time. To find an assessment team contact Mark Bosma at Vermont Emergency Management at mark.bosma@vermont.gov<mailto:mark.bosma@vermont.gov> or 802-839-6717.

Individual homeowners should report damage to their insurance companies. For homeowners insurance questions or assistance, contact the Vermont Divisions of Financial Regulation Insurance division at 800-964-1784.

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