Digging out from a major winter storm

State to Ask for More Federal Storm Funds

By George Colli
|  Monday, Feb 18, 2013  |  Updated 8:26 AM EDT
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State officials are expected to ask FEMA to extend the reimbursement period for snow cleanup.

State officials are expected to ask FEMA to extend the reimbursement period for snow cleanup.

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The state is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency for extra cash to help cover the cost of last weekend’s record-setting blizzard.

President Barack Obama granted an emergency declaration shortly after the storm dropped more than three feet of snow in some towns, so FEMA will reimburse the state and towns 75 percent of the clean-up costs over the first 48 hours.

Because of the size of this storm, state officials are asking the federal government to cover an additional 24 hours of storm clean-up.

Middletown Mayor Dan Drew said 48 hours of strom coverage reimbursement is not enough.
“We had our crews on from Friday morning, at the start of the storm, and they just got off the street for the first time 3:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, yesterday,” he said more than a week after the storm hit.

Drew said his city’s snow removal costs were under the $250,000 budgeted heading into the blizzard of 2013, but the past week changed everything.

“The costs are gonna be staggering, not only in Middletown but in every municipality in the state,” Drew said.

With that in mind, state officials will be asking FEMA to reimburse 75 percent of the costs for the first 72 hours of the storm.

Kevin Nursick, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said their 1,200 employees drove 632 plows from Friday at 4, until Tuesday night and the estimated costs exceed $10 million, or about $100,000 an hour or more than a third of the total agency budget for the winter season.

He said the additional funds are needed, but the agency is well-prepared financially if another storm hits.

“We’ve got plenty of resources to maximize additional funding from within the Connecticut Department of transportation,  if needed,” he said.

Drew said residents in his town have measured more than three feet of snow. While he enjoys winter, he won’t complain when spring comes.

"I think we’ve all had our fill of the snow this year and we’re ready for the daffodils to pop out of the ground," he said.
 

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