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Shumlin seeks disaster declaration

MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin made a formal request Friday for federal disaster relief to help 10 of Vermont’s 14 counties pay for repairs to the power grid and other public infrastructure damaged in a winter storm last month. The administration said Addison, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington and Windsor counties have damages that meet federal standards to qualify for a Public Assistance disaster declaration. The disaster declaration, if granted, would allow communities and public utilities in impacted counties to receive a 75 percent reimbursement for storm response and recovery. Those costs include debris removal and repairs to the power grid, public roads, bridges and other infrastructure damaged during the storm. A preliminary assessment by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that started on December 17 has identified nearly $4 million in damages in Vermont during the storm between December 9 and 12. Continue Reading →

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Waterbury state office complex project plugging along

Updates from the Legislative Joint Fiscal Committee on Thursday:

-WATERBURY – The Legislative Joint Fiscal Committee signed off on the Modified Option B plan for the Waterbury state office complex Thursday. The current project cost presented Thursday was $124,655,000, and it will provide space for 974 occupants. -REIMBURSEMENT – The state learned last week that the Brooks Building and an annex at the Waterbury state office complex is eligible for repairs by the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the 500-year floodplain level, not just the 100-year floodplain, Agency of Administration Deputy Secretary Michael Clasen said. The state plans to demolish both buildings, but the increased threshold means more money for the state. -COMMISSIONER – Department of Mental Health Commissioner Patrick Flood, who plans to pursue other options, will have his last day Friday. Continue Reading →

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Less state workers in Waterbury could help reduce project by $19 million

In the governor’s press conference at the Waterbury state office complex last week, the administration showed at least one response the state could use if it doesn’t receive expected funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. If needed, $19 million could be saved. On Wednesday, Gov. Peter Shumlin said he’ll proceed with the new state hospital rather than wait for FEMA, but he noted the administration doesn’t want to proceed with demolishing buildings at the state office complex until the state knows that doing so won’t jeopardize Vermont’s eligibility for FEMA disaster aid. The new state office complex is expected to cost $125 million. Additional psychiatric beds across the state and the new state hospital in Berlin amount to about $45 million in total. The state has railed against FEMA for suggesting several redevelopment costs would likely be ineligible for aid. Continue Reading →

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