FEMA Funds Coming to Connecticut Cities and Towns

The Obama administration has approved a Federal Disaster Declaration for Connecticut municipalities affected by January's blizzard and subsequent snow events that hampered snow removal efforts.

Mayors and town managers in the state were thrilled to get the news.

"This is tremendous for our city," said New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio.

He said the city tore through its snow removal budget quickly with the number of serious snow events.

"We don’t budget for 20 plowable events," Finizio said. "I think the city in better budget times, at its height nine or 10 years ago they budgeted for nine or 10 storms. That was cut down to six in recent years even before I became mayor."

FEMA will reimburse up to 75 percent of snow removal funds to towns and cities, but there's no guarantee that all funds will qualify for that reimbursement threshold.

Gov. Dannel Malloy announced the president's decision yesterday and applauded the move.

"We had extraordinary weather this winter – and through smart decisions, we got through it. We’re pleased that we were successful in our application. This declaration will provide much needed financial assistance to the state and to the municipalities hardest hit by the January blizzard," Malloy said in a statement.

The town of Tolland budgeted $300,000 for snow removal and even has an emergency fund set aside. By the end of the winter, the town had about $75,000 left after spending more than $450,000 on snow removal.

"The snow started mid-January and up until then, we thought we were having a mild winter, and then it never stopped past that point," said Tolland Town Manager Steven Werbner.

He said if another weather emergency had happened over the summer or fall, Tolland would have faced "significant shortfalls" by his estimation.

"FEMA help is certainly something we welcome because it will enable us to replenish our coffers somewhat," he said.

City and towns are hopeful that they receive FEMA funds in June to coincide with the fiscal year, but there's no guarantee when federal officials will release cash to cities and towns.

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