Administration Says It Expects FEMA Answers By January

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The Shumlin administration says it won’t know until mid-January how much federal disaster money will be available to rebuild the Waterbury state office complex.

Tropical Storm Irene flooded the complex in August 2011. Since then, the administration has worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to try to get as much as $120 million dollars to rebuild the complex and re-locate the flooded state hospital.

Sue Minter is the state’s Irene Recovery Officer. She told two legislative committees that state and federal officials are still estimating the costs that can be reimbursed by the feds. Minter says she hopes to have more precise estimates after the legislature convenes early next year.

"I know what you’re interested in is how much and when," Minter said. "Our target is mid-January. But I cannot tell you with great confidence we’re going to meet that target because it depends how much we can evaluate that may be there are further costs out there."

Minter described a painstaking process in which FEMA completes "project worksheets" for each building. That paperwork is then reviewed in order to maximize the possible federal reimbursement.

"Ultimately, some of the cost calculations can trigger additional funding from FEMA," she said. "Specifically, for mitigation. And also, in  some cases, if you meet a particular threshold, for full replacement."

Minter says the administration now has a good working relationship with a FEMA team assigned to the project. But she says the state was dealt a setback in June when an earlier FEMA team was re-assigned and the process had to start again from the beginning.

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