Towns Waiting For FEMA Reimbursements

12/14/11 7:34AM By Nancy Eve Cohen
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VPR/Nancy Eve Cohen
Augur Hole Road in Marlboro after Tropical Storm Irene.
(Host) FEMA reimburses 75 percent of the cost of recovery from natural disasters like Irene. VPR's Nancy Cohen reports the agency has just announced it has funds for projects for three towns from southern Vermont. But other towns are still waiting.

(Cohen) So far Brattleboro, Wardsboro, and Marlboro are among the towns that have not received any reimbursement, yet.

But this week FEMA says it has now committed to pay Wilmington more than $160,000. And Jamaica $1,600. Halifax already received $55,000. Now FEMA has committed another $25,000.

Newfane, which has requested reimbursement for more than $475,000 received $1,600 last month .

Shannon Meckle is the administrative assistant with Newfane's Select Board.

(Meckle) "One of the major projects, Adams Hill Road, had to be completely rebuilt. Extremely expensive. Just that road will cost $250,000."

(Cohen) Newfane has borrowed  about $1.85 million to get by. Now the town is trying to borrow about another $600,000.

(Meckle) "Unless we can get this line of credit from the bank we will be unable to pay any more invoices  if that happens. Contractors aren't going to keep doing work so roads will be left unfinished."

(Cohen) Victor Inge from FEMA says the agency has reviewed and reimbursed about 7 percent of the estimated 3,000 recovery projects in Vermont.

(Inge) "I wish there was some way we could cut through the process. It is the process. It's how it works. It's being done in a number of states as a result of Irene. It's unfortunate. I wish we could get the money to them sooner, but it's a necessary process and we're working through it."

(Cohen) Inge says FEMA could OK some money for Newfane by as early as mid January.

For VPR News I'm Nancy Cohen.

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