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Feds employ GIS for ice storm cleanup January 18, 2009

Posted by Bahadir Sahin in English, Haber (News).
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Westford’s request for federal reimbursement for costs sustained by the December ice storm was approved by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Friday, according to Town Manager Jodi Ross.

“We are so pleased by this and thankful that our local, state and federal officials listened to our plea for assistance, and acted swiftly to reconsider and approve our request. Of course this affects our surrounding communities as well and we are pleased that they also received the assistance that they requested,” Ross said.

Westford has submitted just under $650,000 of expenses related to this storm, according to Ross. Many have already been incurred, and about half are related to debris cleanup.

“There is a process where we meet with MEMA/FEMA officials and complete a series of applications and forms. We are reimbursed over a period of time as we incur the costs. They told us it takes between 30-60 days to get moving and receiving reimbursement,” she said.

Earlier in the week, Ross said more than 70 officials from area towns attended a meeting on Wednesday at the J.V. Fletcher Library to discuss reimbursement issues.

“We presented a slide show of damages to our communities, the power outages and the emergency responses from Westford. We did that through GIS mapping. Then we heard from MEMA and FEMA officials who described the process, gave an update of where we were and why we were disqualified,” Ross said.

Senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry and Representatives Niki Tsongas, Edward Markey and John Tierney wrote to President Bush in support of Gov. Deval Patrick’s request to amend the recent federal disaster declaration to include Middlesex and Essex counties.

“One of my frustrations last week was that we had to submit economic stimulus package wants but the ice storm costs are financial needs we have today, right now that are critical. I wanted the focus to be on those costs rather than what we might be able to get down the road in the future,” Ross said.

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