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. The request asks for assessments in Addison, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Washington, and Windham counties.
To qualify for a declaration Vermont must show $1 million in response and public infrastructure recovery costs. Individual counties must also show public infrastructure damages and recovery costs of $3.68 per capita, which includes restoration costs for public utilities. Preliminary estimates by the state indicate Vermont will exceed the $1 million threshold. FEMA must verify the damage before the state can request a disaster declaration.
“While faced with outages and damage that reached nearly every corner of the state, utilities and road crews have done a great job working to restore services and clearing roads this week, and that work continues. I thank them for their round-the-clock efforts,” Governor Phil Scott said. “The financial impact has been significant and we are confident we will qualify for a federal disaster declaration, which will ease the effects on communities and utilities.”
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.
“Some of the hardest hit towns are in larger counties that aren’t served entirely by public utilities, making it harder to reach the minimum threshold,” Vermont Emergency Management Director Erica Bornemann said. “We need every community that incurred costs to report those figures to Regional Planning Commissions so we can make the strongest case possible for counties that we believe should qualify.”
The dates of assessments will be announced once scheduled.