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February 18, 2005


Financial Assistance Available for All 14 Counties, Up to 75% Reimbursement


Governor Mitt Romney announced today that federal disaster aid would become available to Massachusetts communities hit hard by the January 22-23, 2005 blizzard.


The assistance was authorized under an emergency declaration issued by President George W. Bush after a review of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) analysis of Governor Mitt Romney’s request for federal assistance. The declaration covers counties that received record or near record snowfall.


The 14 counties that are eligible for federal funding include Essex, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bristol, Plymouth, Barnstable, Dukes, Nantucket, Worcester, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden and Berkshire Counties.


“The January blizzard dumped historic levels of snowfall on Massachusetts, overwhelming local communities and depleting snow and ice removal budgets. This federal assistance will greatly relieve the financial burden the storm placed on the state and our cities and towns,” said Romney.


Under the emergency declaration, FEMA will provide reimbursement to local government, state agencies and various non-profit organizations for 75% of the total eligible costs of equipment, contracts and personnel overtime for a continuous 72-hour period designated by each applicant. These are the crucial hours when work crews clear snow emergency routes and roads to critical facilities to permit passage of emergency vehicles. Related emergency protective measures such as sanding and salting, search and rescue and shelter operations are also eligible for reimbursement.


“The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency will continue to work with cities and towns to help them recoup all eligible expenditures attributed to this storm,” stated MEMA Director Cristine McCombs. “Shortly, we will be announcing the locations of regional workshops for local officials and eligible applicants throughout the Commonwealth, to help walk them through this process.”


The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is the state agency responsible for coordinating federal, state, local, voluntary and private resources during emergencies and disasters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MEMA provides leadership to: develop plans for effective response to all hazards, disasters or threats; train emergency personnel to protect the public; provide information to the citizenry; and assist individuals, families, businesses and communities to mitigate against, prepare for, and respond to and recover from emergencies, both natural and man made. For additional information about MEMA, go to www.mass.gov/mema.





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