West Hartford officials were informed in May that the town would receive $5.5 million as an for debris removal costs associated with October's freak snowstorm. Those funds were finally received today.
"We had to navigate it through and put pressure on them, but we were on top of it," said Deputy Mayor Shari Cantor.
Cantor and West Hartford Accounting Manager Liz Hewitt kept tabs on the payment which was processed through the Connecticut Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and ultimately paid through the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) in Middletown.
"The town was wonderful about documenting and getting everything together that FEMA required," Cantor said. "We were the first community to have everything submitted, the first to have it approved, and the first to receive payment."
West Hartford provided FEMA with documentation for nearly $7.43 in debris removal costs incurred from the removal of trees and limbs from streets and other public areas, curbside pick-up of residents' debris, delivery of material to the parking lot at UConn, the process of grinding the debris into mulch, and the cost of disposal. Town Manager Ron Van Winkle has referred to the application as "literally a truckload of documents."
This reimbursement is for the largest piece of what has been requested by West Hartford, and the first of a total of 19 applications being made to FEMA by the town.
West Hartford's was nearly $12 million. The town expects to ultimately receive close to $9 million in disaster assistance grants.
The remaining amount, totalling nearly $3 million, has been paid out of the Town's fund balance, Van Winkle has said.