The Commons
Town and Village

Townshend, state prepare to appeal to FEMA

Success in freeing displaced funds for culvert repair can set precedent for the state

Originally published in The Commons issue #181 (Wednesday, December 5, 2012).


TOWNSHEND—The Selectboard has voted to work with the state attorney general’s office on a second formal appeal to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the Dam Road culvert.

Board members signed the appeal at their Dec. 3 meeting.

FEMA first told the town that approximately 75 percent of the $550,000 cost of installing a new, larger, box-style concrete culvert would be covered, but more recently said it would be unable to provide assistance, as the culvert represented a significant and more expensive upgrade from the one lost to Tropical Storm Irene.

At the board’s Nov. 19 meeting, Selectboard member David Dezendorf explained that the state’s Assistant Attorney General Daniel Dutcher is in charge of filing the appeal.

Using this appeal as leverage, the state — which is covering the costs associated with the process — hopes to set a precedent with FEMA for aid money for Irene relief projects around the state, Dezendorf said.

“It does appear that the state is on top of this and will do everything they can to get us the money and make it work,” Town Bookkeeper Kim Ellison said.

The culvert quickly became a popular example of FEMA’s unwillingness to provide aid without clear proof that the aid money is absolutely required.

Since March, both the town and the state have repeatedly contested FEMA’s decision, and continue to advocate for the money. Other town projects, including another culvert repair on East Hill Road, also have been bottlenecked at FEMA.

The board first discussed filing an appeal at its April 16 meeting, after learning that FEMA was prepared to fund the Dam Road project, but at some $100,000 less than it had initially indicated.

On June 4, board members discussed getting detailed plans of the project from Beck Engineering, the company that designed the Dam Road culvert.

A reversal of the decision could also allow the state to actively pursue the appeals of hundreds of similar FEMA rejections of Irene repairs all over Vermont. The outcome of the decision could have a huge impact, according to a state spokesperson on Irene recovery efforts.


What do you think? Leave us a comment

Editor’s note: Our terms of service require you to use your real names. We will remove anonymous or pseudonymous comments that come to our attention. We rely on our readers’ personal integrity to stand behind what they say; please do not write anything to someone that you wouldn’t say to his or her face without your needing to wear a ski mask while saying it. Thanks for doing your part to make your responses forceful, thoughtful, provocative, and civil. We also consider your comments for the letters column in the print newspaper.

Comments

No comments yet.

Add Comment

* Required information
(will not be published)
Enter the last letter of the word satellite.
 
Enter answer:
 
Notify me of new comments via email.
 
Remember my form details on this computer.
 
I have read and understand the privacy policy. *
 






News and Views

News

Voices

Arts

Life and Work

Milestones

Submit your news

Submit commentary

Support us

Become a member

Advertising

Print advertising

Web advertising

About us

Contact us