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October Snowstorm: Avon Expects $2 Million FEMA Reimbursement for Storm Costs

The grant money will count toward fiscal year 2011-12.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be reimbursing the town of Avon for 75 percent of the $2.7 million incurred dealing with the October snowstorm almost a year ago.

That means that Avon will be getting about $2,025,000 in federal aid to pay for the storm costs, leaving about $675,000 that the town will pay for itself. A 75 percent reimbursement marks the highest reimbursement FEMA gives for natural disaster-related costs.

Even better news for Avon, according to Town Manager Brandon Robertson, is the fact that the auditors from BlumShapiro have told town officials the grant money award letter meets the cutoff to be counted toward fiscal year 2011-12, the "year the expense was incurred."

If the town received the grant award notification too late, the money would have counted toward the current fiscal year, 2012-13 and last year's operating budget would have had to pay for the full cost until the money came in. If FEMA had not awarded Avon a reimbursement, "we would have to absorb the expense in the operating budget," Robertson said.

In order to submit the reimbursement request to FEMA, the town had to document everything. When Michael's Tree and Loader Service was hauling debris to the former MH Rhodes property on Thompson Road, every load needed to be certified, videotaped and photographed. Avon volunteer firefighters checked the loads from a temporary tower.

"It's extraordinarily time-consuming," Robertson said.

If the town needed to draw reserve money from the fund balance, that could have hurt the AAA bond rating that Avon has since at least the mid-1990s, he said.

However, Robertson said that "we were fortunate last year because we didn't have a bad winter," so that would have helped.

The town has also received the full 75 percent reimbursement for Tropical Storm Irene, he said.

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