MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin and Joe Flynn, Director of Vermont Emergency Management and Homeland Security, today 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. Communities that take four specific actions to prepare for and mitigate flood damage will qualify for higher percentages of state support after declared disasters.
The four basic municipal actions needed to qualify for 12.5 percent state share are:
• Participate in the National Flood Insurance Program – or have applied.
• Adopt 2013 Road and Bridge standards – annually certify adopted standards that meet or exceed the standards in the current handbook for local officials.
• Update the Local Emergency Operations Plan (annually).
• 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. A majority of Vermont communities 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) can be found at tinyurl.com/erafvt.
The Flood Ready Vermont website describes how to find support and resources for community flood resilience efforts. Community 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 at 802-229-9111 www.vlct.org, or Ben Rose at the Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security at 800-347-0488.
Community leaders can get an instant report for the status of their community at Flood Ready Vermont www.floodready.vermont.gov.
*The public can receive weather, traffic, and emergency updates through VT Alert. You can sign up for a free account at http://vtalert.gov and click on the “sign up for VT Alerts” link on the left.