Disaster Relief Funding Changes


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Posted on 08/20/2014 by VLCT Communications


Gov. Peter Shumlin and Joe Flynn, Director of Vermont Emergency Management and Homeland Security, recently urged communities to prepare for new criteria related to state disaster relief funding that will go into effect in October.
Flooding is the most common and costly hazard faced by Vermont communities. After a federally-declared disaster, 75 percent of qualified public losses may be reimbursed by FEMA’s federal Public Assistance program. In Vermont, the Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund (ERAF) also contributes to help cover repair costs. Municipalities that take the following four specific actions to prepare for and mitigate flood damage will qualify for higher percentages of state support (12.5 percent state share) after declared disasters:

  1. Participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (if you haven't already applied).
  2. Adopt 2013 Road and Bridge standards; annually certify adopted standards that meet or exceed the standards in the current handbook for local officials.
  3. Update the Local Emergency Operations Plan (annually).
  4. Prepare a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan; adopt a FEMA-approved local plan, or draft a plan and submit for FEMA review.

Communities that are not prepared will see reductions in the percentage of disaster recovery funding contributed by the state. Most Vermont municipalities have yet to meet all four criteria and therefore would receive only 7.5 percent state share. However, 90 communities have only one more step to take to qualify for 12.5 percent state funding for public disaster costs. More information about Vermont’s Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund (ERAF) is here.
At the Flood Ready Vermont website (http://floodready.vermont.gov/), you can find support and resources for community flood resilience efforts and get an instant status report of your municipality. Municipal leaders are encouraged to contact their Regional Planning Commission (find yours at www.vapda.org), Milly Archer at the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (marcher@vlct.org), or Ben Rose at the Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (800-347-0488).