Local News

Killington to pay back $137,000 to FEMA from Irene

After an appeal process, the federal government denied Killington a grant for a Tropical Storm Irene project, but decided to pay for another project.

The town will have to pay FEMA back $137,000 for replacing a culvert on Stage Road following the storm in 2011, but the town won’t have to pay back $196,000 it received for replacing a Ravine Road culvert.

“We got better than I thought,” Select Board member Jim Haff said.

Town officials were anticipating needing to repay the full $333,000 for both projects. The unanticipated FEMA money will go to a reserve account, Haff said.

Ben Rose, recovery and mitigation section chief with Vermont Emergency Management, said the issues occured when the town changed the scope of work on both culvert projects without notifying FEMA.

The town replaced two culverts with larger box culverts.

“It violated a condition of the grant,” Rose said. “We tried to make a case that there was notification but it was loss during a personnel transition.”

Rep. Peter Welch visited Killington in January 2017 to discuss the issue with previous Town Manager Debbie Schwartz.

“Congressman Welch and staff were actively involved in working with Killington to appeal FEMA’s decision,” Welch’s Communications Director Lincoln Peek said.

Welch and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy also wrote a letter of support of the town to FEMA administration in September 2017.

“The Ravine Road stream crossing project became complex as the town sought to respond to state stream alteration standards not well aligned at that time with FEMA policies and programs,” state leaders wrote in the letter.

Rose said his officed fielded over 30 appeals from Tropical Storm Irene projects.

“There were a few smaller obligations, but nothing like this,” Rose said.

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