Found: FEMA Funds for Failing Culverts and Future Emerg. Communications System

river2Good News, Woodstock Early Birds from our Municipal Manager Phil Swanson and his very-approving Town of Woodstock Selectboard: The possibility of extra funds in the future from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

You remember that our not-so-friendly visitor “Irene” took down the Holt Iron Bridge in West Woodstock. FEMA provides funds for such re-building but was also a-okay with Woodstock getting the funds even if it decided not to re-build the bridge. Only proviso was that projects be related to storm damages.

The FEMA eligible damage funds from the Holt Bridge came in at $853,606.

However, NOW, due to a new pilot program that has emerged in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Woodstock may be eligible to receive another 10% more from FEMA in the amount of $85,361.  These monies could be used on alternative infrastructure improvements.

At last night’s Selectboard meeting, Swanson got approval to go out to bid for two potential projects: Fixing a culvert on Hollow Farm Road and another one on Fletcher Hill Road near Arthur Morgan Road.

While originally FEMA only approved restoration of culverts to the exact damage done, Vermont environmental laws, in many cases, require larger culverts  — and much more expensive  ones — than those damaged. There have been several legal issues with regard to getting federal dollars to pay up to the Vermont standards. Due to several appeals, FEMA finally funded a project in Townsend, Vermont that was built to comply withVermont environmental regs. So, precedence has now been set.

Additionally, these FEMA alternative funds may also be used to upgrade emergency communications between Woodstock’s Town Hall offices, the Town Garage, Station #2 and the Emergency Services building. Such upgrades — which could include intercom systems —  would also place extra lines at many locations so that in emergencies more phones may be available.

Right now, the Town is putting together cost estimates in a proposal to FEMA in its effort to gain approval for extra funding.

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