Last chance for towns to apply for monies
$11-million in federal funds is still there for the taking. Vermont cities and towns became eligible for funding from the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) following Tropical Storm Irene – and the money goes away after July.
HMGP funds help communities make improvements to public infrastructure and private property that are designed to lessen the effects of future disasters. Vermont cities and towns have used HMGP funds to raise roads, replace culverts, flood-proof buildings, and buyout flood-prone properties – among many other projects.
The Winooski River had flooded sections of River Road in Moretown more times over the years than most people can remember. The road is an easy going gravel alternative to Route 2 between Moretown and Montpelier. Ice jams on the Winooski often spill water over its banks and makes River Road impassable. The town of Moretown applied for and was granted HMGP funds to fix the problem. The town raised the level of the flood-prone sections of road in the hopes making it a safer route for motorists and avoiding inconvenience and damage in the future while only shouldering a quarter of the project cost. HMGP pays for 75 of all approved project costs, while the town or property owner picks up the remaining 25.
More than $14-million in HMGP projects have been approved by the state over the past 18-months and more is available. However, this is the last chance for communities to take part in the program; $11-million is left until the application deadline on July 12th.
Only municipalities and certain non-profits (like volunteer fire departments, for example) can apply. Applications are submitted to the state of Vermont and a selection committee picks out projects to forward to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which issues the final approval or denial.
If town officials are unsure if a project may be eligible or have questions, they should call Ray Doherty, Misha Bailey, or Kate Hammond in the Mitigation section of the VT Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security at 800-347-0488. The DEMHS Mitigation section can walk communities through the process and answer any concerns.
The application can be found on the DEMHS web site at http://vem.vermont.gov/mitigation.
The deadline for applications is July 12, 2013. If you plan to apply, call the mitigation team above.
By the numbers:
Total HMGP project funding approved to date: $14.7 million
Total number of applications approved by Vermont and submitted to FEMA: 110
Projects approved by FEMA: 53
Projects approved by Vermont:
• 94 Property acquisitions in the following towns: Barre City, Bethel, Bolton, Brandon, Brattleboro, Bridgewater, Burlington, Chester, Clarendon, Danby, Grafton, Granville, Hartford/Quechee, Londonderry, Middlesex, Newfane, Northfield, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Readsboro, Rockingham, Rochester, Royalton, Ryegate, Sharon, Stockbridge, Wardsboro and Wilmington.
• 10 Public infrastructure projects located in: Barre Town, Brattleboro, Cabot, Chester, Newfane, Pawlet and Weathersfield.
• 19 local mitigation planning grants for: Hartford, Middlebury, Tunbridge, and 16 towns in Orange, Southern Windsor and Windham counties.
• One outreach/educational initiative project: VT Department of Environmental Conservation
Contact: Mark Bosma, Public Information Officer, Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, (800) 347-0488, http://vem.vermont.gov