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Franklin Co. eligible for public disaster aid

July 21, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Public roads and utilities in Franklin County sustained approximately $450,000 in damage last month, according to preliminary estimates, making municipalities and other entities eligible for disaster relief.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday amended the disaster declaration for the county to include public assistance funding, county Emergency Services Director Jerry Flasher said Thursday.

"This allows the county to access federal public assistance funding which provides cost reimbursement aid to local governments and certain private, nonprofit agencies, educational institutions, utilities, emergency services, medical facilities, custodial care facilities, and other health and safety services," Flasher said.

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell also announced that the state will provide the 25 percent local share, relieving the county government and municipalities of that financial burden, Flasher said. The county exceeded a threshold of $380,000 in damage set by FEMA to qualify for the assistance and the preliminary estimate of $450,000 could go higher, he said.

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"The preliminary figures were compiled by the municipalities themselves," Flasher said. The most serious damage was in Greene and Quincy townships, but municipalities throughout the county may apply for assistance, which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by FEMA and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, he said.

"We had drainage issues, roads washed out, pumping station equipment damaged, sinkholes, debris removal," Flasher said, listing some of the damage caused by the flood.

A briefing on the public assistance program will be Monday at 2 p.m. at the Marion Volunteer Fire Department, Flasher said.

"If you meet one of the criteria for being eligible, you need to come to that meeting Monday," Flasher said.

Earlier this month, the county received a disaster declaration for private property, allowing homeowners and others whose property sustained damage to apply to FEMA for assistance. FEMA opened a disaster recovery center at the former Thompson Institute in the Norland Shopping Center on July 14.

Homeowners and other private property owners must apply by telephone or online with FEMA before being able to go to the disaster recovery center for help, Flasher said. The toll-free number is 800-621-3362 and the Web site is www.fema.gov/about/process.

Flasher said Thursday that 273 property owners applied to FEMA for assistance and 85 applicants have been to the center for help in getting assistance. FEMA has distributed approximately $200,000 directly to property owners, he said.

"There are (FEMA) inspectors all over Franklin County looking over" damage to private property, he said.

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